Activist monk, Ven. Dr. Omalpe Sobitha Thera who has opposed the proposed move to legalise the cultivation of cannabis for export purposes, which was proposed by President Ranil Wickremesinghe in his capacity as the Minister of Finance in the Budget 2023, has informed the Mahanayakes (chief prelates) of all three sects about the catastrophic events which would likely take place if this proposed move is initiated.
In a letter addressed to the chief prelates of the Amarapura, Ramanna and Siam sects (Asgiri and Malwathu Chapters), he pointed out that the group of persons who are involved in cannabis smuggling are in a bid to convince the Government, claiming that exporting cannabis would be a way out of the current economic crisis.
Furthermore, he added that it was reported that 10,000 acres from the Embilipitiya area have been designated for a pilot project to cultivate cannabis.
He noted that a campaign has been launched to convince the general public by circulating misinformation about the benefits of cannabis. He further noted that certain religious texts were manipulatively interpreted by pro-cannabis campaigners, thereby falsely referring that the Buddha and Jesus Christ had also supported the use of this drug.
While recalling the attempts made by the companies in the tobacco industry and their related organisations to sabotage the attempts taken by them to pass the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol Act, No. 27 of 2006, he pointed out that the damage which will be faced by the nation à la cannabis would be irreparable and can never be reversed. Moreover, he elaborated that legalising cannabis is equal to issuing a licence to a fatal industry.
Speaking to The Morning, the monk said that he and the Buddhist clergy will continue to act against this move. “Legalising cannabis under the interesting name of “Thriloka Wijayapathra” will have adverse effects for the nation. We are against this shortsighted decision of the Government. We will work against this and try to raise awareness among the general public in this regard. Discussions are also underway to look into the possibility of taking legal action against this move,” he added.
President Wickremesinghe, in his budget speech on Monday (14) that an experts’ committee would be appointed to consider the proposal.
( curtesy Sunday Morning)