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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Senate debates on marijuana use set to begin

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The deliberations and debates on allowing the use of cannabis or marijuana for serious medical conditions will now be tackled on the Senate floor after 12 senators signed the committee report on the measure.

Committee Report No. 210, which was prepared and submitted by Senator Christopher Go, chair of the Senate Health and Demography Committee contains Senate Bill No. 2573 filed by Senator Robin Padilla.

Aside from Go and Padilla, the other signatories to the committee
report are Senators Ronald Dela Rosa, Sonny Angara, JV Ejercito, Jinggoy Estrada, Mark Villar, Lito Lapid, Raffy Tulfo, Bong Revilla Jr.,
Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III and Senate Majority
Leader Joel Villanueva.

Go, Villar, and Revilla signed “with reservations” while Estrada, Pimentel and Villanueva noted they would interpellate or make proper amendments when the bill is reported out on the Senate floor.

The bill provides that the use of cannabis for medical purposes will be permitted “to treat or alleviate a qualified patient’s debilitating medical condition or symptoms.

It also noted that the medicalization of cannabis includes its
acquisition, possession, transportation, delivery, dispensing,
administration, cultivation, or manufacturing by private individuals
or entities only for medical and research purposes.

The bill also mandates that the state protect sand promotes the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them.

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“Pursuant thereto, the state shall legalize and regulate the medical
use of cannabis which has been confirmed to have beneficial and
therapeutic uses for known debilitating medical conditions.

A Philippine Medical Cannabis Authority or PMCA will be created under the Department of Health (DOH), which shall be the principal
regulatory agency in the access and use of medical cannabis and in the implementation of the measure.

With the recommendation of the DOH Secretary, the President will
appoint a director  to lead the PMCA as proposed in the measure.

Importation of medical cannabis “from countries with stringent
regulatory agencies or countries with established medical cannabis
regimes or countries already using the same medical cannabis products in the last five years, will be allowed under the bill.

It, however, prohibits the importation of medical cannabis products
from countries not using their own products.

The bills also spelled out the prohibited acts  as dollows:

A qualified patient, for instance, is prohibited to:

-Use cannabis for purposes other than for treatment of a debilitating
medical condition and outside of the designated treatment facilities

-Use of cannabis with other illegal intoxicating or dangerous substances.

-Sell or give away medical cannabis

Meanwhile, any physician is prohibited to:

-Prescribe medical cannabis without an S2 license.

-Prescribe medical cannabis to any person who is not a qualified
patient under this Act

-Prescribe the use of medical cannabis for purposes other than for
treatment of a debilitating medical condition

-Prescribe medical cannabis in quantity more than the needed dosage

-Fail or refuse to maintain the record of all his or her patients and
prescriptions issued referred to in Section 9 of this Act

-Issue a written prescription for his or her own use, or the use of
his or her immediate family or relatives within the second civil
degree of consanguinity or affinity

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