Malacañang on Tuesday thumbed down the idea of legalizing the growing of marijuana plants in Mountain Province for medicinal purposes to provide income to indigenous people in the region.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte was committed to eradicate illegal drugs in the country and said the government was continuing to wage a war on illegal drugs in the country where more than 4,000 have reportedly been killed.
Duterte, who won the presidency on a campaign promise that he would rid the country’s drug problems in six months, said drug users were inclined to commit different crimes.
In a press briefing, Roque said the government had launched alternative agricultural programs to uplift the lives of farmers, particularly the indigenous people in Mountain Province and in Mindanao.
“We have plenty of programs provided by the Department of Agriculture, where they introduced different crops to plants. Many were given livestock to stop them from growing marijuana,” Roque said.
Asked if the President was willing to legalize planting of marijuana by some indigenous people because it is part of their culture to smoke and use it as their medicines, the Palace official said the President was against legalizing this because that would create more problems.
The government, he said, is fully aware that marijuana is being used to manufacture as a component for certain medicines, but once marijuana is legalized, Roque feared that it might go out of control.
For the farmers, the Palace official said there were alternative plants for the farmers to grow.
“Don’t wait to be arrested and jailed because illegal possession of drugs, including marijuana, is penalized with life imprisonment,” he warned.