Albano hopeful for passage of medical marijuana bill
MANILA, Philippines — Isabela 1st District Rep. Rodito T. Albano III on Tuesday expressed hopes that Congress would approve the medical cannabis bill before the end of the 17th Congress in July next year.
Albano, principal author of the medical cannabis bill or House Bill No. 6517, said the measure aims to “provide patients suffering from serious and debilitating diseases with alternative medicine.”
HB 6517 is at the period of amendments in the lower House while the Senate has no counterpart measure as of now.
“It is time for us to decide based on evidence,” Albano said in a statement. “Around the globe, controlled clinical trials assessed the safety and efficacy of marijuana and its naturally occurring compounds proving the therapeutic and palliative effects of cannabis.”
The lawmaker also said 27 countries have already legalized cannabis while 33 states in the United States have passed laws legalizing medical cannabis.
Albano also clarified that HB 6517 “adopts a very strict regulatory framework.”
Once enacted into law, the measure would allow medical cannabis to be available to qualified patients with IDs to be issued by the Department of Health (DOH). The bill won’t decriminalize the use of cannabis or marijuana, neither would it allow smoking, Albano stressed.
He added that medical cannabis could only be bought in hospital-based Medical Cannabis Compassionate Centers through pharmacists with “S3 license.”
The bill also puts into task the Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to regulate medical cannabis.
Prospects on the passage of the bill have been revived in light of Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray’s answer in the pageant’s question and answer portion supporting the use of medical marijuana.
Malacañang said President Rodrigo Duterte would sign any bill that would legalize medical marijuana. /ee
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