Atienza rejects bill legalizing medical marijuana
MANILA, Philippines — Senior Deputy Minority Leader and Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza underscored his opposition to a bill legalizing medical cannabis, fearing it would eventually lead to legalizing recreational marijuana.
Atienza’s statement came a day after House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo renewed her support for House Bill No. 6517 which she co-authored, admitting she had used cannabis pain patch.
Atienza said the bill, principally authored by Isabela 1st District Rep. Rodito T. Albano III, is no longer needed as the Republic Act No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 already allows the use of medical marijuana for “compassionate use.” Senate President Vicente Sotto III pointed out the same last December.
“Una, tanungin natin siya (Arroyo), kailan, ano at ano’ng naging epekto? Dahil talaga naman pwedeng gumamit ngayon eh, under the present law, you can be prescribed medication containing cannabis,” Atienza said in a press briefing.
(We need to ask here what is the effect because under the present law you can be prescribed medication containing cannabis.)
Atienza claimed the bill would encourage developing “agricultural farmlands into marijuana fields” and would “eventually legalize recreational marijuana.”
“We don’t want this kind of environment for the young Filipinos,” he said. ” Iwasan natin ‘yan, hindi naman makakabuti ‘yan eh. Uminom na lang kayo, manigarilyo na lang kayo, pero hindi kayo mawawalan ng kontrol sa pag-iisip ninyo. Kung gusto ninyo ng organic, mag-siga na lang kayo (Let us avoid that. It’s not going to do us good. Just drink or smoke, but you will not lose control of your mind. If you prefer organic, just burn grass).”
Minority Leader and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez, meanwhile, pointed out that alcohol and cigarettes are more destructive than marijuana.
Albano has clarified in a previous statement that the measure would allow medical cannabis to be available only to qualified patients identified by the Department of Health.
The bill will not decriminalize the smoking of cannabis or marijuana for non-medical purposes, he added.
HB 6517 is at the period of amendments in the lower House, while the Senate has no counterpart measure as of now.
Malacañang earlier said President Rodrigo Duterte would sign any bill that would legalize medical marijuana.
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