Medical marijuana bill not a priority of Palace
Grass is not groovy for Malacañang.
Not that Palace officials never toked in college, but that they don’t know enough to take a position in the medical marijuana debate in Congress.
Asked on Monday for comment on the bill in the House of Representatives that sparked the debate, the Palace merely echoed the tentative stand of the Department of Health (DOH).
Quoting Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy, spokesman for the DOH, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said, “We still need more evidence-based inputs to even consider medical marijuana.”
The House committee on health is debating Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III’s bill that would allow the use of marijuana in treating the terminally ill.
Doctors oppose the bill, saying they have insufficient scientific evidence that marijuana really eases the pain of the terminally ill.
Asked about the bill on Saturday, Lee Suy said the DOH was not entirely rejecting it but would review its provisions for response to possible problems involving policing and preventing abuse of marijuana.
No need to rush. Coloma said the medical marijuana bill was not on the administration’s list of priority legislation.
The list includes the 2016 national budget, Bangsamoro Basic Law, fiscal incentives rationalization, uniformed personnel pension reform, antidynasty law, freedom of information, designation of archipelagic sea-lanes, national land use, and protection for whistle-blowers.
Malacañang also wants amendments to the build-operate-transfer law, road right-of-way act, and witness protection law.
If anybody can convince the Palace to make the medical marijuana bill a priority, it’s Albano, who has firsthand experience in the use of weed.
On Monday, Albano cited the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) for backing his bill, stressing the need for the “compassionate use of marijuana for the terminally ill.”
Actually, the CBCP did not say in the pastoral statement it released on Sunday that it was backing his bill, just offering to Congress and regulators the Church’s teaching on the use of prohibited drugs in caring for the terminally ill.
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