Padilla files medical marijuana bill

Paolo Romero - The Philippine Star
Padilla files medical marijuana bill
Sen. Robin Padilla in this photo uploaded on his Facebook page on July 9, 2022.

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Robinhood Padilla is pushing for the legalization of medical marijuana or cannabis as a “compassionate alternative means of medical treatment” in the Philippines.

In filing Senate Bill 230, Padilla also sought the expansion of research into the medicinal properties of marijuana, which has been widely used as herbal medicine to treat conditions including gout, rheumatism and malaria.

The measure also provides for enhancing research and development for medical cannabis and the training of medical cannabis physicians and pharmacists.

“The State should, by way of exception, allow the use of cannabis for compassionate purposes to promote the health and well-being of citizens proven to be in dire need of such while at the same time providing the strictest regulations to ensure that abuses for casual use or profiteering be avoided,” Padilla said in his bill.

Under the bill, medical cannabis – which refers to products such as capsules and oil, and not raw cannabis – may be used for “debilitating medical conditions of qualified patients.”

The bill defines “debilitating medical condition” to include cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous system of the spinal cord, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis or similar chronic autoimmune deficiency, diseases requiring hospice care, severe nausea, sleep disorders, mood disorders, recurring migraine headaches and other debilitating medical conditions identified by the Department of Health (DOH) through the Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee.

It also designates the DOH as the principal regulatory agency that shall establish Medical Cannabis Compassionate Centers in public tertiary hospitals.

The DOH will also set up a Prescription Monitoring System, issue registry ID cards to qualified medical cannabis patients and establish an electronic database of patients and their physicians.

The Food and Drug Administration will test medical cannabis products, while the Dangerous Drugs Board and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency will monitor and regulate medical cannabis.

Filipino, English

Padilla also filed Senate Bill 226, a bill seeking the equal use of Filipino and English languages in all government issuances and documents to make sure ordinary Filipinos understand the content of such documents.

Under his bill, Filipino and English will be the official languages of the Philippines for all government issuances and documents including executive issuances such as implementing rules and regulations of acts, executive orders, proclamations, administrative orders, memorandum circulars and memorandum orders; legislative documents including acts, bills, rules of procedures, resolutions, journals and committee reports; judicial Issuances and proceedings including decisions, resolutions, rules and other issuances of the Supreme Court and lower courts; international treaties; public advisories and publication of laws.

“Both versions of the official languages shall be treated in equal status and authority for all intents and purposes. In this regard, this bill proposes the mandatory publication and accessibility of the general public to government documents, including but not limited to: executive issuances, legislative documents, judicial issuances, public advisories and international treaties, in both English and Filipino language,” he said.

Padilla lamented that while Article XIV, Section 6 of the 1987 Constitution mandates government to initiate and sustain Filipino as a medium of official communication, most if not all documents are published in English.

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