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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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Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’

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By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam

The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.

Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.

A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.

The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.

According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.

The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.

DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.

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PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners

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By Norman Palihawadane

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.

Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.

The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”

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Thilo Hoffman remembered

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A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.

Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.

The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.

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