Under his bill, medical cannabis refers to Cannabidiol or CBD, the non-addictive, non-intoxicating strain of the marijuana plant, as distinguished from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is classified in the country as illegal as it delivers the euphoric “high” leading to addiction.
Michael Varcas/File
Philippines could export medical marijuana — lawmaker
Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - August 25, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A Bicol lawmaker is proposing the creation of a government agency that would oversee the development of what he described “could be a legitimate multibillion-dollar industry producing and exporting medical cannabis,” or marijuana.

The proposal of Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte is different from the bill filed in previous Congresses by then Isabela congressman, and now Gov. Rodolfo Albano lll, who had pushed for allowing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Albano’s brother, Antonio, who represents Isabela’s first district, has re-filed the bill in the present 18th Congress.

In Bill 3961, Villafuerte urged Congress to create the Philippine Cannabis Development Authority (PCDA). He was quick to clarify that his proposal “should not be deemed in any manner to advocate, promote, authorize, legalize the recreational and/or non-medical use of the cannabis plant.”

He reiterated his full support for President Duterte’s all-out war on illegal drugs.

Villafuerte said other countries with zero tolerance for drug trafficking, like China and Singapore, are either already producing medical cannabis or considering the legalization of the drug for medicinal purposes.

He said the large-scale production of medical marijuana could “benefit not only ailing Filipinos in need of the revolutionary treatment offered by the drug but also the government in terms of export revenues that can be tapped from its potential $57-billion market.”

Villafuerte added that medical cannabis is now legal and used for health, and scientific and research reasons in 60 countries across the globe.

Under his bill, medical cannabis refers to Cannabidiol or CBD, the non-addictive, non-intoxicating strain of the marijuana plant, as distinguished from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is classified in the country as illegal as it delivers the euphoric “high” leading to addiction.

Villafuerte noted that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved the first and only prescription medicine using 100-percent CBD called Epidiolex, which is used to treat seizures.

Also, international experts have cited the medicinal qualities of the cannabis plant, including former US surgeon general Vivek Murthy, who declared in a recent television interview in the US that it “may be useful for certain medical conditions,” he said.

Villafuerte added that even the World Health Organization has published a report confirming that cannabidiol “exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential (and)… there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”

He pointed out that the establishment of his proposed PCDA would ensure that all medical marijuana from the farm all the way to the finished products are of pharmaceutical grade.

A special panel of technical experts would be set up to monitor cannabis farms, the processing or manufacture of cannabis products and its use as may be authorized by the proposed PCDA, Villafuerte said.

EXPORT MEDICAL MARIJUANA PHILIPPINE CANNABIS DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
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