The chamber voted unanimously to pass the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Bill of Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III, days after both President Duterte and Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo expressed support for medical marijuana.
AFP
House OKs medical marijuana use on 2nd reading
Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - January 24, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives yesterday approved on second reading a bill allowing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

The chamber voted unanimously to pass the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Bill of Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III, days after both President Duterte and Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo expressed support for medical marijuana.

Albano said his bill seeks to allow the use of medical marijuana for those suffering from debilitating diseases like epilepsy, under strict regulation by the Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration.

“The use of marijuana for recreational purposes will continue to be prohibited. We are not proposing that the prohibition be lifted,” he said.

He said there are studies in Israel, Spain, other parts of Europe and the United States attesting to the medicinal benefits of marijuana.

He added that medical marijuana is allowed in many states in America.

Last week, Arroyo admitted to using medical marijuana.

“As you know I am an author of that (medical marijuana bill). I really believe in medical cannabis. As you know, I have my problem here (cervical spine) and when I’m in a country that allows it, I put a pain patch but here in the Philippines I cannot do it,” she told reporters.

“So I authored that bill because I believe that it can help me and many other people but there was a lot of objection to the bill from the House and from the Senate. That’s why we are just letting the legislative process take its course. Right now it’s on second reading,” she said.

President Duterte had revealed that he was taking marijuana to keep awake, citing the hectic schedule during the recent ASEAN summit. He later clarified it was a joke.

The President had also said he was in favor of using marijuana for medicinal purposes, but not for recreation.

Albano said he has “high hopes that this measure would be enacted into law under the Duterte administration.”

“Finally, there is hope for our people, especially our children, who suffer from medical conditions like epilepsy, cancer and multiple sclerosis,” he said.

He said cannabis “has been confirmed to have beneficial and therapeutic uses to treat chronic or debilitating diseases or medical conditions.”

These include cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe and chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, epilepsy and severe and persistent muscle spasms, he added.

Albano pointed out that even in its raw form, marijuana is not harmful.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA
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