Philippine President Rody Duterte High On Marijuana Legalization
Few presidents have been as merciless and notorious as the Philippines’ very own Rody Duterte when it comes to the drug war.
Duterte has been upfront since the very beginning about his hatred of drugs…and thousands have been murdered in the aftermath since he stepped foot as president of the Philippines. Rody Duterte’s presidency has been bloody to say the least, with bodies of many innocent victims being killed and tossed in the street – and that’s on a good day.
Anyway something strange just happened – the country has just decided to vote on the lawful use of medical marijuana. This happened just a day after the senate voted to reinstate the death penalty for specific drug-related crimes. Early in March, Duterte said that he planned to restart the war on drugs, which has already seen a death toll north of 7,000.
According to the Asian Correspondent, House Bill 180 details who and how medical cannabis will be used. It will include details on who will be approved to prescribe it to sick individuals. The approved will be qualified medical cannabis physicians, while cannabis patients are required to have an ID card. The bill also discusses details on who will be allowed to assist in the distribution of the medicine, including medical cannabis caregivers as well as qualified cannabis compassionate centers.
According to Rep. Seth Jalosjos, who proposed the bill, legalizing cannabis for medical use “will benefit thousands of patients suffering from serious and debilitating diseases.”
“I have high hopes under the Duterte administration that this measure would be enacted into law. Finally, there is hope for our people, especially our children, who suffer from medical conditions like epilepsy, cancer and multiple sclerosis,” he tells the Philippine Star.
Duterte has always been vocal about being against the use of cannabis recreationally, but he seems to be open about its use medically. He has famously said, ““If you just smoke it like a cigarette, I will not allow it, ever. It remains to be a prohibited item and there’s always a threat of being arrested. If you choose to fight the law enforcement agency, you die.”
Approval Of Medical Cannabis Bill In June
The author of the medical cannabis bill, Isabela Rep. Rodito Albano, thinks that it’s possible for legalization to happen by June 2017. Ideally, it will occur before the first regular session of the 17th Congress in June.
According to Albano, he would do everything possible to ensure that House Bill 180, also known as the Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, would be passed before June. In an interview with Manila Bulletin, he says, ““I think the majority will vote for it. There’s a strong clamor now to support the bill.”
Congress will resume sessions on May 2, as they are currently on a month long break after which they will adjourn on June 2. Quezon Rep. Angelina “Helen” Tan, who chairs the House Committee on Health, already established a technical working group tasked with the responsibility of hammering out the finer details of House Bill 180.
The Department of Health as well as the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Health Research and Development also proposed that guidelines be put in place so that the government can make sure that medical cannabis use won’t be abused.
Albano remains optimistic that his proposal will finally be passed during the 17th Congress despite the president’s ongoing war on drugs. He thinks that Congress would be able to pass the measure so that thousands of Filipinos can be helped and find relief from debilitating conditions.
“We are not decriminalizing marijuana,” Albano says, confident that the Duterte administration will approve his proposal among the other priority measures. He also said that he agrees with the strict controlling provisions surrounding medical cannabis use so that the plant won’t be abused.
“I have high hopes under the Duterte administration that this measure would be enacted into law. Finally, there is hope for our people, especially our children, who suffer from medical conditions like epilepsy, cancer, and multiple sclerosis,” Albano says.
Finally, the (green) light at the end of the tunnel is finally manifesting itself!
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