Sotto: No need for new law on use of medical marijuana
There is no need for a new law to authorize the use of marijuana for medical purposes in the Philippines because the country’s Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act already allows this, according to Senate President Vicente Sotto III.
Sotto, one of the authors of the law, said the policy under the law was that “the government shall aim to achieve a balance in the national drug control program so that people with legitimate medical needs are not prevented from being treated with adequate amounts of appropriate medications, which include the use of dangerous drugs.”
The policy is implemented through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) circular providing the guidelines for the issuance of a compassionate special permit, Sotto said.
FDA Circular 2014-009 provides for access to drugs and medicines not registered in the Philippines for compassionate use, he said.
But the application for the substance permit from the FDA is the responsibility of the attending physician, he added.
A bill in the Senate filed by Sen. Risa Hontiveros would allow the delivery, possession and use of cannabis and other dangerous drugs intended for medical use or to treat or ease a patient’s symptoms or conditions associated with a debilitating disease.
It would also allow their cultivation or manufacturing for medical experiments, research, or for the creation of new types of medicines upon application with the FDA.
Sen. JV Ejercito, the health committee chair, said he hoped to conduct a hearing on the measure in June should he be reelected to the Senate.
He said he had seen how medical marijuana, or cannabis oil had helped his sister-in-law, whose seizures had stopped because of it.
Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III on Tuesday called on his colleagues to speed up the approval of his bill that would benefit people afflicted with serious and debilitating diseases.
“Around the globe, controlled clinical trials assessed the safety and efficacy of marijuana and its occurring compounds proving the therapeutic and palliative effects of cannabis,” Albano said.
He said his proposal, House Bill No. 6517, or the Philippine Compassionate and Medical Cannabis Act, would promote the people’s right to health by ensuring safe access to quality medical cannabis.
The Philippine Cannabis Compassion Society (PCCS) on Tuesday expressed confidence that with the support of newly crowned Miss Universe Catriona Gray, medical marijuana may soon be legalized in the country.
In a statement, the PCCS, which advocates for the safe and affordable access to medical marijuana, thanked Gray for the support she gave to the campaign for the drug’s medical use when she was asked about its legalization in her interview during the pageant held in Bangkok, Thailand, on Monday. —With a report from Jovic Yee
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