Buhay Party-list Rep. Lito Atienza has accused lawmakers supporting the legalization of medical marijuana as being “eager to go into the business of cultivating the illegal drug and running dispensaries.”
“There are politicians who want to profit from legalized medical marijuana. This is clearly all about money—lots of money,” the House senior deputy minority leader said.
Atienza claimed a number of pro-medical marijuana legalization members of Congress have actually gone on “field trips” to Canada and America to look into the operations of dispensaries there.
Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo earlier said that President Rodrigo Duterte would sign into law any bill legalizing medical marijuana.
Atienza, however, insisted that no such bill would arrive at the Palace for the President to sign.
“The bill legalizing medical marijuana is already dead as far as this Congress is concerned,” Atienza said, adding the House minority prevented further floor deliberation on the measure.
The current Congress has only 20 session days left, and most of these days are expected to be spent on passing the proposed 2019 national budget, he said.
Atienza warned the legalization of medical marijuana would open the floodgates to abuse and addiction and create an unwanted public health emergency in the country.
He said the susceptibility to abuse far outweighs any and all of the “unproven benefits” of allowing prescription marijuana.
“Marijuana is a poison. No amount of sugar-coating will make the illegal drug less toxic,” Atienza said.
The Philippine Medical Association, the professional organization of Filipino physicians, has rejected the legalization of medical marijuana.
At present, marijuana is tagged as a prohibited substance, just like shabu, cocaine and heroin, under the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Under the law, mere possession of at least 500 grams of marijuana, or at least 10 grams of marijuana concentrate (resin or resin oil), is punishable by life in prison plus a fine of up to P10 million.
Carrying lesser quantities of the drug is punishable by 12 to 20 years in prison plus a fine of up to P500,000.