Legalization of Medical Marijuana, Approved by House of Representative

Marijuana or cannabis, is an herbal plant used to treat some ailments which include asthmatic symptoms and high blood pressure. However, a majority of the population utilize it as a form of illegal drug for their own personal satisfaction. This is why some countries prohibit its use while some allow it depending on the dosage that a patient takes.

Legalization of Marijuana, OK-ed by the House of Representatives
Image was taken from GMA Network | gmanetwork.com

Here in the Philippines, it is known that Marijuana use is illegal even if it’s for medical purposes. However, just a few days ago, the House of Representatives OK-ed the measure which seeks to regulate and legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes. This happened on Wednesday, the 23rd of January 2019.

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House Bill 6517, also known as the proposed “Philippine Medical Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act,” has gone through a vote of “ayes” and nays” and was approved.

What will happen if this proposal has been enacted into law?

Isabela Representative Rodolfo Albano, the principal author of this specific bill, seeks to  both legalize and regulate the use of cannabis for medical purposes. The reason for that is because he has found it to have substantial therapeutic and beneficial uses in treating and curing debilitating and chronic medical conditions.

In the event that our government decides to have a go on this specific bill, this measure will fully establish Medical Cannabis Compassionate Centers (MCCC). This means that there will be authorities to supply, sell, and dispense cannabis to patients who qualify for the eligibility or their caregivers through some S3-licensed pharmacists.

What are Medical Cannabis Compassionate Centers (MCCC)?

The Medical Cannabis Compassionate Centers or the MCCC is an establishment licensed by the Department of Health. They are based in private tertiary hospitals, department-retained specialty hospitals, and plain hospitals.

Legalization
Image was taken from LeafedIn | LeafedIn.org

In addition to its capability of allowing cannabis, this bill will also give provisions for the establishment of the Medical Cannabis Research and Safety Compliance Facilities mandated to conduct Medical Research and Scientific on the use of cannabis for medical reasons and purposes.

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Kabayan party-list Representative Ron Salo, one of the other authors of this bill, says that the bill does not allow medical marijuana to be publicly sold, he says after the approval of the bill. With that being said, it’s kind of clear that it is not in their intention to abuse the use of marijuana.

Salo said that the only places where prescribed medical marijuana is going to be available would be private hospitals given the license for medical cannabis use, tertiary hospitals, and DOH hospitals.

The authorized licensed doctors would be prescribing medical cannabis for very specific conditions and purposes based on their expert diagnosis.”

Salo is also saying that licensed doctors would be the only ones to prescribe marijuana for medical uses. People who may use prescriptions would undergo checking and distinction by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

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Salo adds that they will issue special identification cards IDs for caregivers who will be distinguished by licensed doctors.

There will also be licensed medical cannabis caregivers who will be issued special identification cards by the doh secretary. medical cannabis patients will also be issued special ids. the medical cannabis caregiver can attend to only one patient at a time.”

Since when was this bill being passed and waited for?

Ever since a few years back, people have been talking about the possibility of marijuana being approved here in our country. This issue, however, regained its composure and attention last December 2018, when Philippine candidate for Miss Universe Catriona Gray said that she supports the use of marijuana for medical reasons and purposes.

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Many people think that her answer was one of the reasons why she went on and won the pageant.

Just last week, our dear speaker, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, shared that when she is in a country where marijuana use is legal, she uses marijuana patches to deal with the pain from her cervical spine problem, rather than taking chemically-induced pain relievers.

What is the current status of this bill?

Just yesterday, the House of Representatives approved the bill and is currently on the third and final reading. The lower house had a vote of 163-5-3 and passed the Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act or the House Bill 6517.

Since this is the case, the bill is now being thought of as a bill that will be enacted and be observed soon here in our country. Representative Rodolfo Albano of Isabela, said that this proposed measure is going to be effective in terms of treating conditions and diseases in a natural and subtle way.

Why is Marijuana illegal in most countries?

The fact that marijuana is used as an illegal drug to satisfy the cravings of some drug users, it is illegal and is banned to be used. However, there are countries, states, and institutions which allow the use of medical marijuana as long as it is utilized moderately.

Here in the Philippines, Marijuana or the Cannabis product is one of the most prohibited substances under the Dangerous Drugs Act (DDA) of 2012. So with this bill currently in place, it actually contradicts this act but is true in a sense that it CAN ONLY BE PRESCRIBED BY A LICENSED DOCTOR.  

Last 2017, the University of the Philippines Manila (UPM) stated their opinions and thoughts in objecting proposals to legalize the use of medical marijuana when it comes to treating diseases and conditions.

This will expose our citizenry to unnecessary harm and the risk of poor health outcomes.”

Quite frankly, we still have no idea what effects this bill could have in the lives of the people. Other than the fact that most Filipinos are deprived of it (because of it being illegal), some might be curious as to what its side-effects are.

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We do hope that once this bill gets signed into law, people will not take advantage of it. That people will not find ways on how to acquire marijuana just for their own personal satisfaction. Besides, medical marijuana will only be legally given if advise from licensed doctors and healthcare practitioners are given.

What do you think about legalizing marijuana for the concern of health? Do you think that this move is necessary in terms of improving the current state and the level of medicine in our country?

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