Legalizing medical cannabis will not decriminalize abuse–solon
A lawmaker has allayed fears of the possible abuse of marijuana once a bill legalizing the use of cannabis for medical purposes is passed in Congress.
According to Isabela Rep. Rodolfo “Rodito” Albano III, primary author of House Bill 4477, the bill aims to legalize medical marijuana and not recreational marijuana.
House Bill 4477 or the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, aims to legalize and regulate the medical use of cannabis, also known as marijuana, to aid in the treatment of patients with severe medical conditions.
“Ito naman ipinapanukala natin ay medical marijuana. Ibahin natin ‘yung recreational marijuana,” Albano said in an interview with Radyo Inquirer 990AM on Saturday.
(What we are proposing is the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Recreational use of marijuana is a different case altogether.)
Albano said the bill would prohibit the administering of cannabis through its “raw form” or through smoking.
He suggested creating an agency under the supervision of the Department of Health (DOH) to regulate the use of medical marijuana.
The bill had proposed to establish a Medical Cannabis Compassion Center, the only regulatory body authorized to plant and sell medical marijuana.
Albano explained that the bill would not decriminalize the possession, sale or manufacture of marijuana.
“We are not decriminalizing this drug. Possession, sale, manufacture, ingestion or smoking of marijuana is still strictly prohibited,” he said.
“The law that prohibits the use of marijuana remains,” he added.
Various groups including the Philippine Medical Association have expressed opposition to medical marijuana, citing it would endanger the health and safety of Filipinos.
Albano, however, said the hype against medical marijuana is because of the “fear of the unknown.”
He said that the use of medical marijuana would aid patients “with debilitating disease, severe pain, intense seizures and persistent muscle spasms (since) the legal solution to their problem (would be) at hand.”
The House of Representatives’ Committee on Health has started to tackle the bill early this August after Albano filed it in May and had its first reading on the floor in June.
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