House bill to create rules on medical marijuana importation

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 19 2018 11:27 AM | Updated as of Dec 19 2018 11:34 AM

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MANILA - A bill pending at the House of Representatives proposes the creation of a "Medical Cannabis Compassionate Center" that will be a go-to institution for patients who need medical marijuana. 

Kabayan party-list Rep. Ron Salo, co-author of the medical marijuana bill, said the center will be authorized to cultivate medical marijuana for research purposes. 

"That compassionate center will be the one that will be authorized to cultivate and ensure those who will need this drug will have access," he told ANC. 

Salo said the bill will provide regulations enabling concerned bodies to import marijuana from countries that are allowed to cultivate the plant.

At least 37 countries have legalized medical marijuana, the lawmaker stressed, with 20 other countries legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes.

A woman holds marijuana for sale at the MedMen store in West Hollywood, California U.S. Reuters

Salo said the bill only seeks to legalize marijuana for medical use. He said cannabis will be consumed like ordinary medicine, and not in pot sessions. 

"This will either be in solids or mga capsules, tableta or maybe something injectable. Hindi po ito yung magpa-pot session sila," the lawmaker explained.

Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto III had said the medical marijuana bill is no longer needed because the Food and Drug Administration already has guidelines for issuing "compassionate special permits."

Sotto said the fact that 583 out of 585 applications for special permits for medical marijuana got approved means the system is already working. 

The lawmaker also fears a law legalizing medical marijuana would only be taken advantage of by people who wants to sell or use the plant for recreational use. 

"Kasi gusto magtanim para daw magre-research. Magtatayo daw ng research. E 'yung research ng Israel 1968 pa, hanggang ngayon walang nakitang cure," Sotto told DZMM.

"Bakit gusto natin bulatlatin ito na puwedeng magtanim, puwedeng magtayo ng mga research center? Alam na natin kung ano'ng mangyayari diyan," he added.

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Sotto, however, said he is still open to hold debates on the proposed medical marijuana law in the Senate. The House bill is currently in 2nd reading.

Talks about legalizing marijuana for medical use reignited when Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray expressed support for it when she was asked during the pageant's question-and-answer portion.