KALINGA, Philippines – Kalinga Province Governor James Edubba has joined thrown in his support for the medical marijuana measure currently making its way through Congress.
Edubba, the third Cordillera politician to call for legalization of medical marijuana, said the measure would help deter illegal plantations in the region, which the Philippine National Police (PNP) has tagged as the primary producer of high-grade marijuana in the country.
Other backers of the measure are Benguet Representative Eric Yap, and Ifugao Governor Jerry Dalipog.
Dalipog previously suggested the possibility of reclaiming abandoned rice terraces in the province for use as marijuana growing areas should the country pass a law.
Edubba on February 21, however, stressed that his support is contingent on the medical marijuana bill being pro-farmer.
He warned against allowing multinational companies to take control of marijuana production.
“Once the government will allow multinational corporations to control the production and manufacturing of medicinal marijuana, which will be to the detriment of farmers, then the illegal cultivation of the hemp will continue and will remain a problem among government agencies and local governments,” Edubba said.
The measure must lead to better living standards to discourage farmers from illegal production and trade, he added.
The Philippine Statistics Authority said that in 2021, eight of every 100 individuals were living in poverty in Kalinga, a landlocked province with a population of 229,570 in 2021.
Discussing his proposal to transform abandoned rice terraces into marijuana farms, Dalipog in December 2022 noted the lack of funding and support for the restoration of terraces, especially in higher elevations.
Yap in September 2022 said that the regulation of the cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana, will also help curb the trade in illegal hemp in nearby Cordillera provinces and in the Ilocos region.
Senate Bill 230 seeks to legalize use and production expanding research into the medical properties of cannabis. It also contains “safeguards” to prevent casual use and profiteering. – Rappler.com
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