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Ona cool to use of medical pot

/ 07:24 AM February 17, 2014

MANILA, Philippines—Health Secretary Enrique Ona expressed reservations about the proposal to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes, citing the need for further studies of its medicinal value.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona. FILE PHOTO

“What does medical use mean? In short, you have to be very clear on what is the definition of medical use,” Ona told reporters in an interview.

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Ona said there might be other alternatives to curing ailments other than marijuana.

A bill seeking to legalize medical marijuana has been filed in the House of Representatives by Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III. But Albano said during last week’s hearing of the House committee on dangerous drugs that the Dangerous Drugs Board needed only to craft the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 to allow the use of medical marijuana and there was no need to enact a new law.

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The health chief noted that some danger involved in passing the new law or an IRR to the current measure should be weighed thoroughly by the lawmakers since allowing marijuana for medical use could be prone to abuse.

Ona, however, said the Department of Health still had no “firm opinion” on the matter until further medical studies on marijuana had been conducted.

Medical cannabis has reportedly shown potential benefits in relieving nausea due to chemotheraphy, some symptoms of AIDS and chronic pain, among others.

“If there are alternatives, probably there is no need (to legalize medical marijuana),” he said.

Marijuana has been legalized for medicinal use in several parts of the world. Some states in the United States and Europe have also legalized marijuana, said to be less dangerous than alcohol, for recreational use.—Niña P. Calleja

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TAGS: Department of Health, Enrique Ona, Health, House bill, marijuana, Medical marijuana, medical use
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