Bill on medical use of marijuana filed in Congress
MANILA, Philippines – It's a beam of hope for advocates of medical marijuana in the Philippines.
Isabela 1st District Representative Rodolfo Albano III filed on Monday, May 26, House Bill 4477 or the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Bill, after months of dialogue with advocates and stakeholders.
Watch this report below.
The bill seeks to legalize and regulate the medical use of cannabis in compliance with government policy to balance its national drug control program and the regulated use of dangerous drugs for treatment and medication of patients with debilitating medical conditions.
In the explanatory note, Albano said the bill intends "to provide accessible, affordable, safe medical cannabis to qualifying patients." (READ: JV Ejercito for legalizing marijuana, netizens react)
The bill stated that cannabis (more commonly known as marijuana) "has been confirmed to have beneficial and therapeutic uses to treat chronic or deblitating disease or medical condition” that produces one or more of the following:
- cachexia or wasting syndrome
- severe and chronic pain
- severe nausea
- seizures, including but not limited to those characteristic of epilepsy
- severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those associated with multiple sclerosis
Once enacted, the law will establish under the Department of Health a Medical Cannabis Regulatory Authority that will regulate the medical use of cannabis in the country.
The agency will issue registered identification cards to qualified patients as well as maintain a registry of cannabis patients' caregivers who will assist registered qualified patients.
The bill also proposes a Medical Cannabis Compassionate Center and Medical Cannabis Safety Compliance Facilities.
Both should not be located within 1,000 feet of the property line of a pre-existing school, college, or university, and should implement security measures to prevent unauthorized entry as well as theft of cannabis.
The bill specified who will be exempted from civil and criminal liability for the use of, or for activities related to, medical cannabis.
Under the bill, medical cannabis and its paraphernalia possessed, owned, or used in connection with its medical use should not be seized or confiscated unless the dosage exceeds what is prescribed by a qualified physician.
It also prohibits discrimination against both the registered qualified patient and the designated caregiver.
A Joint Congressional Oversight Committee for Medical Use of Cannabis will be established to oversee the implementation of the bill once it is enacted.
Dr Donnabel Cunanan, whose daughter has a partial seizure disorder, said the bill gives them hope. (READ: When medicines fail, marijuana is moms' last hope)
"We dedicate this to all those who, like our children, suffer from debilitating medical conditions like epilepsy, cancer, and multiple sclerosis," she said in a mix of English and Filipino.
Cunanan is a member of the Philippine Cannabis Compassion Society that has been working closely with Albano for the past months.
"This is just the first step but we are confident that by the grace of God, many congressmen will vote yes to this." – Rappler.com
Medical Marijuana image from Shutterstock