Congress pushes for technical working group on medical marijuana bill

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THE Health Committee of the House of Representatives pushed for the creation of a technical working group (TWG) on Thursday to aid in the creation of the bill legalizing medical marijuana.

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According to a statement issued by the AAMBIS-Owa Partylist, the TWG would allow medical experts and stakeholders to help legislators in writing a better version of the bill that would be beneficial to the public.

AAMBIS-Owa Rep. Sharon Garin said a provision in the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 could be useful in paving the implementation of the House Bill.

The lawmaker quoted the second paragraph of Section 2, which states, “The government shall, however 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 dangerous drugs.”

House Bill 4477, also known as “The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act,” was first introduced by Hon. Rodolfo Albano III in 2014 which “seeks to regulate the safe use of Cannabis or medical marijuana” in the Philippines.

Cannabis, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), is “a psychoactive preparation of the Cannabis sativa plant” which is one of the widely cultivated, trafficked, and abused drugs in the world.

Some lawmakers, politicians, and other government officials have aired their concerns over the proposed bill because of the possible rise in drug abuse if it becomes a law.

On August 17, President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines and Lingayen Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said that although drug abuse is considered sinful, the ‘compassionate use’ of the drug for the terminally ill is allowed in Church teachings.

“We have been apprised of various medical situations other than terminal illness where it seems that palliative care and relief involving the use of narcotics, including cannabis, may be indicated. The obligation to cure subsists, even when it may not be possible to cure,” the archbishop said.

 

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