Health Minister presents cabinet paper on cultivating cannabis

Health Minister presents cabinet paper on cultivating cannabis

13 September 2018 10:44 am

Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Dr. Rajitha Senaratne says that he has presented a cabinet paper on cultivating cannabis for the production of Ayurvedic medicine and he hopes that it will be discussed in future.

The Minister made this statement today (13) while addressing a conference held at the Narahenpita Blood Transfusion Center.

Canada and the Great British have lifted the ban on cannabis. Sri Lanka has also banned cannabis; although smoking cannabis causes problems, drinking cannabis as a medicinal drink does not cause any problems, the Health Minister added. The Health Minister is preparing to allow indigenous doctors to participate in an international conference on cannabis in Israel. Doctors participating in the conference are required to submit a report on cannabis cultivation and marketing. The Health Minister pointed out that many countries including Canada have started to produce medicines using cannabis. Ayurvedic doctors have told the Health Minister that the lack of opium and cannabis is a problem for the production of medicine. Chairman of the Ayurvedic Drugs Corporation Lal Samarasinghe said that fresh cannabis is needed for the production of medicine of quality. The Ayurvedic Drugs Corporation currently distributes cannabis required by Ayurvedic doctors all over the island. The Minister has instructed the officials to make a proper programme to address issues that arise when transporting and distributing cannabis.

It was revealed that the private sector is importing a large amount of medicine without quality checks. Officers of the Ayurvedic Department stated that they have received complaints that certain private sector traders are using these medicine for other purposes as well. The Health Minister advised Ayurvedic Commissioner Chathura Kumaratunga to take measures to conduct raids against such misconducts.

Provincial Ministers of Indigenous Medicine, Health Secretary V.G.S. Gunathilake, Additional Secretary L.H. Thilakarathne, Ayurvedic Commissioner Chathura Kumaratunga, Ayurvedic Drugs Corporation Chairman Lal Samarasinghe and several other officials participated in this event.