Duterte won't legalize medical marijuana: Palace

Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 12 2019 04:54 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte. File

MANILA- Medical marijuana will not be legalized under President Rodrigo Duterte’s term, Malacañang reiterated on Tuesday.

"Not during my time" was Duterte's response when asked if he would legalize medical cannabis, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a press briefing.

"Sa ibang panahon siguro, sabi niya (maybe some other time),” Panelo said.

The President initially expressed openness to legalizing medical marijuana.

He, however, said last Friday that he would no longer approve such a proposal.

“Kasi ang feeling niya (Duterte) you will be using that as an excuse, baka lumaki nang lumaki lang,” Panelo said.

(Duterte feels that you will use that an excuse and it might go out of hand.)

Panelo however noted that Duterte may change his mind if presented with definitive scientific findings on the medical uses of the herb.

“Ang sabi nya pa, dapat yung mga medical yung magdecide dyan kung talagang totoong nakakagamot yan," Panelo said.

(Duterte said medical professionals should decide whether medical marijuana is really effective.)

In January this year, the House of Representatives passed a proposed measure legalizing the use and research of medical marijuana in the country.

House Bill 6517 or the Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act seeks to provide "compassionate and right of access to medical cannabis and expanding research into its medicinal properties."

Senate President Vicente Sotto III however has expressed doubts on passing a counterpart measure.

House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who also authored a bill legalizing marijuana for medical purpose, has admitted using a marijuana-based pain patch to address pain in her cervical spine.