The struggle for foreign exchange has led to the expedition legalising cannabis for medical purposes. Sisira Jayakody, State Minister of Indigenous Medicine Promotion, is working with the relevant authorities to table a bill in parliament to grow medical cannabis for export purposes and lift a ban that was imposed in 1935 by the British rulers.
Cannabis has traditionally been used to treat cancer, mental illness and sexual dysfunction. Informed sources say that hemp which has less tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) than marijuana, will be grown in Sri Lanka to control misuse.
Hemp, or industrial hemp, is a botanical class of Cannabis sativa cultivars grown specifically for industrial or medicinal use However, still there is no consensus among the ruling alliance on legalizing cannabis even only for export. Prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksha opposed the growing of cannabis saying ‘If this is legalized it will be a great disaster for Sri Lanka” Many fear that in an overall environment where regulation is lax, misuse could be prevalent.