Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Tuesday aired his support “in principle” to the Dangerous Drugs Board’s approval of a resolution authorizing the use of cannabidiol to alleviate severe forms of epilepsy.
However, Sotto said his support bordered on the assumption that the use of such “is in medicine form and conforms with DDB-PDEA [Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency] guidelines and permit.”
Sotto said there was no need for Congress to legislate a law that would make legal the use of cannabis for medical purposes.
Rep. Luis Villafuerte said Congress would no longer prolong the suffering of epilepsy victims by enacting the pending bills that would allow the use of cannabidiol.
He praised the move by the Dangerous Drugs Board to approve the epilepsy victims’ use of cannabidiol pending a legislative proposal on the domestic production and international marketing of this medicinal strain of the cannabis plant that is neither addictive nor producing the so-called buzz or “high” effect for users.
READ: Marijuana use tied to drugs board okay
“This game-changing decision by the DDB should serve as a strong impetus to the Congress to act soon enough on a pending legislative measure creating a state agency to oversee the development of what could be a legitimate multi-billion-dollar export industry focusing alone on the production and marketing of CBD or the kind of medical cannabis from this strain of the cannabis plant that is not addictive and does not produce the so-called buzz or ‘high’ for users,” Villafuerte said.
Sotto said the DDB move proved that the law being proposed on the HOR was unnecessary. He said there were more important proposed legislations that the lawmakers should spend their time on.
“I hope they give priority to measures that will have more impact on the most number of our countrymen,” Sotto said.
He said the use of cannabis for medical purposes was already authorized under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.
He said it set down the policy that “the government shall aim to achieve a balance in the national drug control program so that people with legitimate medical needs are not prevented from being treated with adequate amounts of appropriate medications, which include the use of dangerous drugs.”
But Senator Panfilo Lacson warned the DDB against usurping the power of Congress to legislate following its decision to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
He cited a Dangerous Drugs Act that prohibits the use of marijuana.
“Therefore, there is need to amend the existing law to allow its use even for medicinal purposes,” Lacson said.
Senator Aquilino Pimentel III said the law already had a provision allowing the medical use of marijuana.
“We just have to check if the proper procedure was followed,” he said.
He believes the medical benefits of marijuana must be proven first as he expressed doubt on its use.
Senator Joel Villanueva said the US FDA had already approved cannabidiol to treat certain kinds of epilepsy, especially those with drug-resistant seizure.
He said it was important to make the treatment available to those who needed it, but proper regulation should be in place particularly with respect to dispensation.
“I have a serious reservation on that aspect, but with proper regulation access to this medication will provide relief to a number of people,” Villanueva said. With Maricel V. Cruz
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