MANILA -- Only processed marijuana will be allowed in the country if Congress decides to pass a bill that will legalize it for medical use, the lawmaker behind the measure said Monday.
When processed, some of marijuana's addictive properties will be removed while retaining its medicinal properties in the same way morphine is derived from opium, said Isabela Rep. Rodito Albano.
Smoking, growing, or possessing marijuana leaves will still be banned under the bill and cannabis will only be available and prescribed in its medicinal form, like tablets, he said.
"In this bill, you cannot smoke marijuana, you cannot grow it as a plant inside your house, and you cannot be in possession in its leaf form. It should be processed to medicinal form," he told ANC.
Only doctors with "S3 licenses" will be able to prescribe medical marijuana, and research about the plant will be done by the government under strict rules, he said.
Some countries have already allowed the use of medical marijuana, especially for patients that have epilepsy, cancer or HIV/AIDS, he said.
Albano authored House Bill 6517 or the Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act which is set for third and final reading at the House of Representatives on Monday.