FILE PHOTO: Marijuana plant | REUTERS
MANILA, Philippines — Senate Committee on Health and Demography chairperson Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito is open to tackling the proposed legalization of marijuana for medical use.
“I have been open to it because if it will prolong the lives, ease the pain of those cancer patients and those in pain, and relieve their agony, why not?” said Ejercito.
Some senators are also willing to hear the debate on the issue.
According to Sen. Panfilo Lacson, he is open to this proposal but not for recreational purposes.
Even some lawmakers in the Lower House believe that the statement of Miss Universe Catriona Gray regarding the use of medical marijuana may help in the passage of the bill.
According to Kabayan party-list Rep. Ron Salo, one of the authors of House Bill No. 6517, cannabis may help patients with severe seizure, muscle aches and others.
The proposed bill has already been approved in the committee level.
But according to Senate President Vicente Sotto III, there is no need to pass another law for the use of medical marijuana.
He explained that under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs of 2002 that he authored, there is a policy regarding the regulation of use of dangerous drugs for legitimate medical needs.
According to Sotto, a patient or his or her relative just has to go to the Food and Drugs Administration to ask for what is called a compassionate special permit.
“If the Dangerous Drugs Act confide with FDA circular, we have a compassionate-use provision. It’s allowed already, so what are they talking about? They just don’t know the law,” said Sotto.
“Meron na ba kayong nabalitaan na ang PNP, hinuli ang medical marijuana? Wala, dahil hindi bawal,” he added.
The Senate president clarified however, that usage of marijuana as recreational use is strictly prohibited by law.
Planting of marijuana is also prohibited in the Philippines, given that the country is one of the signatories in the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961. — Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue