Despite the fact that the Philippines has become the murder capital of the world when it comes to dealing with its drug offenders, the nation’s legislative forces are giving serious consideration to a proposal that could lead to the legalization of marijuana for medicinal use. The Philippines house committee has so far been particularly open to the idea.
Early Approval By Philippines House Committee
According to a report from CNN, a House committee recently put its stamp of approval on a bill called the “Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act,” which would allow patients suffering from a variety of conditions to have access to cannabis products.
The measure, which was brought to the table by Isabela First District Representative Rodolfo Albano, is similar to some of the medical marijuana laws that have been passed recently in the United States.
Although it would create a system that allows for the cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana, it would be somewhat restrictive since only those with permission from a doctor could purchase products such as edibles, oils and topicals. Smokable cannabis will not be allowed under the proposal.
The measure was designed to make medicinal cannabis available to patients with debilitating conditions ranging from arthritis to multiple sclerosis. The program would be completely overseen by the government, making cannabis available through Medicinal Cannabis Compassionate Centers and hospitals operated by the Department of Health.
This means patients would have the added benefit of a licensed pharmacist when it comes time to consider the products most appropriate for their condition. The bill would also create a facility dedicated to medical marijuana research. This aspect of the program would be responsible for regulating cannabis safety, testing cannabis products for potency and contaminants.
Duterte Open To Medical Cannabis
Although President Rodrigo Duterte remains adamant that the Philippines will not be legalizing marijuana for recreational use, he said last year that he supports the use of the herb for its medicinal benefits.
“Medicinal marijuana—yes, because it is really an ingredient of modern medicine now,” he said. “There are medicines right now being developed or already in the market that contains marijuana as a component.”
For now, anyone caught in possession of marijuana in the Philippines can face severe penalties, including life in prison and possibly even death. President Duterte said last month that if police forces could “only kill 32 [drug offenders] everyday, then maybe we can reduce what ails this country.”
One reason that some members of the Philippines house committee want to push this legislation is to separate those who want the herb for its therapeutic benefits from those simply looking to get high.
“It’s very clear in the bill. We’re not doing it for recreational purposes and we are not decriminalizing marijuana,” Albano said. “Marijuana is still considered as a dangerous drug and all the laws pertaining to the use of marijuana and the planting of marijuana is not decriminalized.”
The bill now goes to the House floor for consideration. There is no word yet on when this could happen.