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SLIMA urges govt. to fall in line with other countries and UN on using cannabis for medical purposes

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By Chaminda Silva

Samastha Lanka Indigenous Medical Association (SLIMA), a local ayurveda medical body yesterday urged the government to ease the laws on cannabis for it to be developed as an herbal drug as in our past for many ailments, which many countries have already done.

Addressing the media at the Sri Sambuddhathwa Jayanthi Mandira complex in Colombo, Adviser to SLIMA former Registrar of Ayurveda Medical Council Dr. Danister L. Perera said that the United Nations had recently reclassified strict control measures applied on the Cannabis plant.

“There have been recent calls for amending the laws here by some persons with an ulterior motive to promote the narcotic use of the plant. It is that campaign now stands as an obstruction to our efforts to have the plant legalised for medical purposes. We too are against the abuse of the medicinal plant as a narcotic. It is high time the government considered relaxing and reintroducing laws pertaining to medicinal use of cannabis in the country. Such measures could pave the way to utilise it for medicinal purposes, as done in Ayurveda for centuries.

Dr. Perera said the United Nations central drug policy making body Commission on Narcotics Drugs (CND) had recently reclassified cannabis from its previous state of strict control measures, that discouraged its use for general medical purposes.

Dr. Perera said on Dec 02 last year 53 member countries of UN-CND had voted to remove cannabis from Schedule IV of 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, where it was listed alongside specific deadly, addictive opioids including heroin, having little to no therapeutic purposes.

“The UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs with 53 of its members has recognised cannabis as a plant with various medicinal properties after 59 years, and consented to reclassify it from the list of dangerous drugs, which is a great breakthrough in promoting Ganja for health benefits.

“We know that most countries including ours, draft laws pertaining to drugs, crimes and terrorism under the guidelines and resolutions adopted in the international conventions like the United Nations. Therefore, it is a golden opportunity for the government to reconsider its harsh policies on cannabis preventing it being developed into a multi-million dollar generating industry as a medicinal product.”

Chairman SLIMA Dr. Upul Dela Bandara said many international research had proved that cannabidiol (CBD), the second most prevalent of the active ingredients of cannabis was an essential component in medicinal Marijuana.

He said a number of countries that had legalized the use of plant including several states in India for medicinal purposes earned millions of dollars in foreign exchange by exporting it to the West.

Dr. Bandara questioned why Sri Lanka was not using the opportunity to develop this herbal product, which was grown abundantly in remote areas, to make a steady foreign currency generating industry, as a novel solution for a pandemic hit economy.

Organiser SLIMA Dr. Washington Nanayakkara explained the numerous medicinal properties of the ganja plant, which had been prescribed in Ayurveda treatments for thousands of years and how certain western powers had invented misconceptions regarding cannabis since the early nineteenth century to promote their chemical drugs worldwide.



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Pakistan Navy ship arrives in Colombo

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Pakistan Navy Ship (PNS) Taimur arrived, at the port of Colombo, on a formal visit, yesterday morning (12). The visiting ship was welcomed by the Sri Lanka Navy, in compliance with naval traditions.The 134m-long ship is commanded by Captain M. Yasir Tahir and it is manned by 169 as the ship’s complement.

The Commanding Officer of PNS Taimur is scheduled to call on Commander Western Naval Area, at the Western Naval Command Headquarters, today. The ship is expected to remain in the island, until 15th August, and the crew of the ship will take part in several programmes, organized by the Sri Lanka Navy, to promote cooperation and goodwill between the two navies.

PNS Taimur is also expected to conduct a naval exercise with the Sri Lanka Navy in western seas on its departure on 15th August.

Meanwhile, PNS Tughril, an identical warship belonging to the Pakistan Navy, arrived in Sri Lanka on an official visit on 13th December 2021 and conducted a successful naval exercise with SLNS Sindurala off the western coast on 16th December. Naval exercises of this nature with regional navies will enable each partner to overcome common maritime challenges in the future, through enhanced cooperation.

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Stalin reads riot act to govt. over proposal to allow schoolchildren to work part time

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Alliance of Trade Unions and Mass Organisations yesterday warned that the government’s decision to allow schoolchildren, between the ages of 16 and 20, to work part time, would have disastrous consequences.Addressing the media on 11 Aug., General Secretary of the Ceylon Teachers’ Union, Joseph Stalin, said that the government was planning to amend laws, allowing schoolchildren to work in the private sector for 20 hours a week.

“Now, this may look like a progressive idea. A lot of families are

struggling and if another family member can chip in, it would be a great help. I am sure a lot of children feel the same way. It is also true that there may be children who will find great jobs and horn their skills,” he said.However, these proposals have come at a time when education is in crisis and the schools are on the verge of collapse.

“During the last two and a half years, most children have learnt nothing. But children who go to elite schools are doing better. These schools have systems in place, but most others don’t. Children who do not go to tier one schools have suffered and most children who do not go to such elite schools will not find part time work that will prepare them for the jobs of the future,” he said. “It’s not easy to balance school work with vocation training, especially physically intensive work. Most people will drop out and social mobility will further stagnate. Fix the education system first and create a more level playing field,” Stalin said.

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Harsha: Will RW use Emergency to steamroller his economic reforms?

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By Saman Indrajith

SJB MP Harsha de Silva yesterday asked President Ranil Wickremesinghe whether the latter was planning to use Emergency powers to suppress the people who might oppose his economic reform agenda.

“It is being asked why the government wants to continue the State of Emergency. The anti-government protesters have gone home. There is no unrest. There are those who say that the President wants to keep the Emergency laws to carry out economic reforms. Does that mean the President will use these laws to scare people into submission if they do not accept his economic reforms? I don’t think people can be intimidated. I want the President to answer this question,” he said.

MP de Silva said that the government did not have public support and that it was obvious that the spectre of the Rajapaksas was haunting the government.

“I agree that Wickremesinghe was appointed constitutionally. We have to work within the Constitution. However, the 134 votes he received on 20 July were not realistic. They have managed to manipulate the Constitution, but the government doesn’t have the support of the people. The problem is can the government win the support of the people,” he said.The SJB lawmaker added that Sri Lanka needed to restructure its debt. However, the country had not even started the process.

“One of the consultants we hired, Lazard, says that we have to start with China because it is new to debt restructuring. But we have not done so. Not only that, we have in fact started a diplomatic issue with China. What’s the front page news today? Can this government solve this sensitive international issue? Can it carry out the necessary economic reforms?” he asked.

MP de Silva said that the government had to work with the people and that it had to be honest with them. The government needed to present a common programme on which an all party government could be established.

“In 2020, we said that the government was on the wrong path and that we needed to seek IMF assistance. The government didn’t listen. We need an all-party programme to go before the IMF and get a decent deal. Today, I present to Parliament an economic recovery plan we have prepared. When we decided to throw our weight behind SLPP MP Dullas Alahapperuma, I was entrusted with the task of making an economic plan. We have run it through experts too. I ask the MPs to look at this and suggest improvements.”

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