Bishops: We are not endorsing marijuana

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The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is “not” endorsing the legalization of marijuana, its president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said on Thursday.

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According to Villegas, the CBCP has “merely noted” existing provisions of Republic Act [RA] 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act., noting that even the “Dangerous Drugs Board may permit the importation, distribution and prescription of dangerous drugs for medical and research purposes.”

“We also express concern about the surreptitious introduction of dangerous and addicting substances and making them legally readily available to those prone to addiction. The effects cannot be anything but harmful especially for the youth and children,” Villegas said.

Recently, he clarified that the CBCP is supporting the use of marijuana for medical purposes especially for terminally ill patients.

The archbishop said “an ethical principle articulated by the Holy See” that the use of narcotic substances in analgesia and pain management especially for the terminally ill “is morally permissible.

He added that “the agony associated with such situations calls for humanization, and if the regulated and controlled use of even narcotic substances promises to alleviate this inordinate suffering, then there will be no objection to the regulated and controlled use of such substances in extreme circumstances on moral grounds.”

“That is quite a different matter from the claim that CBCP endorses the legalization of marijuana. We did no more than underscore existing provisions of law and Catholic moral doctrine,” Villegas said.

He reiterated that the Catholic Church rejects all drugs listed as dangerous under RA 9165 and other laws, saying they ignore the exceptive clauses.

“Please note that this position applies not principally to marijuana but to all substances that may presently be found in the table of substances appended to RA 9165, and is applicable only when medical science is able to establish the beneficial use of such substances in a regulated and controlled manner in the dire circumstances we earlier mentioned,” Villegas said.

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