Doctors say no to ‘grass’
MANILA, Philippines–Several groups of doctors are not keen on supporting a bill in Congress seeking to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
According to Dr. Anthony Leachon, president of the Philippine College of Physicians, there was no need for such a law allowing the compassionate use of cannabis because this was already allowed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with corresponding rules and regulations.
“We will not support it,” said Leachon, adding that other medical societies such as the Philippine Medical Association, the Pain Society of the Philippines, the Philippine Psychiatric Association, and the Philippine League for Epilepsy were against the proposed measure.
House Bill No. 4477 or the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act was filed earlier in Congress by Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano.
Under the bill, the government must “legalize and regulate the medical use of cannabis which has been confirmed to have beneficial and therapeutic uses to treat chronic or debilitating disease or medical conditions.”
These conditions include diseases the cause a patient to suffer chronic pain, severe nausea and seizures, among others.
Leachon said the bill would set a precedent on the legislation to regulate drugs. “We should leave the regulation to the FDA because legislation cannot keep up with the rapid changes in knowledge,” he pointed out.
He also said that the measure will open the floodgates to indiscriminate use of marijuana in the country, which has a weak regulatory environment, and could lead to more vehicular accidents, crimes and other socio-economic impacts.
Since the filing of the bill early this year, it has gained the support of several lawmakers. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) earlier said it was not entirely opposed to the idea of legalizing marijuana so long as it was for medical use.
“Catholic health care ethics, in fact, considers as morally justifiable the use of marijuana for terminal cancer patients in severe pain,”
Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP president, said in a statement in June.
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