Poe, Lacson open to legalizing medical marijuana
Senators Grace Poe and Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday said they were open to legalizing marijuana but only for medical use.
Poe cited cases of patients being assisted with medical marijuana but noted that it could not yet be considered a cure.
Marijuana could be distributed through hospitals, but its use and dispensation should be under a doctor’s supervision so that “not just anyone can get it,” she said in an interview on ANC television.
If a doctor had an allotment and gives prescriptions to, say, 100 people per month, there would be a record of the recipients, she said.
“That is a way to prevent a doctor from selling on the side,” Poe added.
Warning on abuse
The senator, however, warned the use of marijuana could be abused if it were legalized.
“If you have marijuana, that’s so accessible, people will just stay perhaps at home and then bench out,” she said.
Lacson also supported medical — not recreational — uses of marijuana.
“Yes, the intention may be good, for medical use, but it may lead to proliferation of marijuana for recreational use. That would defeat the purpose,” Lacson said.
Like Poe, Lacson said Congress should find ways to prevent abuse.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros has filed a bill that would establish community-based programs in dealing with drug problems that included a provision allowing medical use of marijuana.
Tacit support for bill
Poe and Lacson spoke about medical marijuana a day after President Rodrigo Duterte said he was taking marijuana to keep him awake, a claim he later withdrew, saying he was only joking.
The President once said he favored medical, not recreational, marijuana.
Two opposition lawmakers in the House of Representatives said whether the President really used marijuana or not, his statement could open the view of approaching the country’s drug problem from a health perspective and it could be interpreted as a tacit support for a bill to legalize the medical use of cannabis.
Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin noted that House Bill No. 6157, or the proposed Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, had been archived after Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, one of its principal sponsors, was ousted as Speaker in July.
‘Let’s not joke about it’
Villarin and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman were among the authors of the bill.
“It might be retrieved from the archive because the statement of the President that he has taken marijuana is an endorsement of the medical marijuana bill,” Lagman told reporters on Tuesday.
“But if we are serious about fighting illegal drugs, we should not be joking about taking marijuana,” he said.
Marijuana — also called weed, grass, pot, dope or cannabis — is more popular in the form of dried leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant.
Cannabis contains both mind-altering, or psychoactive, compounds like tetrahydrocannabinol and other compounds like cannabidiol.
It may be consumed for medicinal purposes to relieve pains, such as the chronic pain that affects people with cancer, nausea and other symptoms of various ailments.
The US Food and Drug Administration has also approved it for treatment of two rare and severe forms of epilepsy.
Some countries have legalized or decriminalized marijuana for medical purposes under various systems of regulations, including Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Zimbabwe. —Reports from DJ Yap, Faye Orellana, Marlon Ramos, Christine O. Avendaño and Inquirer Research
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