House OKs bill legalizing medical marijuana on 2nd reading
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved on second reading a bill that seeks to legalize and regulate the use of medical cannabis (marijuana) and expand research into its medicinal properties.
The lower chamber of Congress has approved House Bill (HB) No. 6517 which seeks to help patients suffering from debilitating diseases through a vote of “ayes” or “nays.”
Once enacted into law, the Department of Health, in coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, will regulate medical cannabis.
The proposed law would allow medical cannabis to be available to qualified patients with IDs to be issued by the Department of Health. The bill won’t decriminalize the use of cannabis or marijuana, neither would it allow smoking, Isabela 1st District Rep. Rodito T. Albano III, principal author, earlier said.
The bill also establishes an Advisory Committee on Medical Use of Cannabis which will serve as the advisory body in the formulation and implementation of policies and regulations.
It also provides criteria for one to be qualified as a medical cannabis physician, patient, and caregiver.
The proposed law also provides penalties for the commission of prohibited acts.
HB 6517 also authorizes the University of the Philippines (UP) National Institute of Health, the Health Sciences Center of the UP System, the Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care and other organizations to conduct research on the use of medical cannabis.
Malacañang earlier said President Rodrigo Duterte would sign any bill that would legalize medical marijuana./je/ac
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