Isabela solon bats for medical marijuana bill

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ILAGAN CITY, Isabela: Inspired by Colombia’s newly legalized medicinal marijuana, Rep. Rodolfo Albano 3rd of the 1st District of Isabela is pushing for the passage of a bill that would allow marijuana for medical purposes.

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As stated in the proposed House Bill 4477, or Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, filed on May 26, 2014, Albano claims that recent developments in Colombia show that medical marijuana could also help the Philippine health sector.

The bill proposes the creation of a medical cannabis regulatory authority under the Department of Health to regulate the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

On Tuesday, Colombia, a country that was once synonymous with illegal drugs, legalized medicinal marijuana, making its consumption, cultivation, purchase, and sale legal for medicinal and scientific purposes.

“And for the same and many good reasons, I will continue to push for the passage of medical marijuana in January next year,” Albano said.

“Modern research has confirmed the beneficial uses of cannabis in treating and alleviating the pain, nausea and other symptoms associated with a variety of debilitating medical conditions, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/AIDS, as found by the National Institute of Medicine of the US,” Albano said.

Albano cited the countries that have benefited from the legalized use of marijuana for medical purposes: at least 20 states in the United States, Israel, Canada, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.

He also said that other states in the European Union, including Finland, Portugal, Spain and Luxembourg, in recognition of the medical value of cannabis, have developed various forms of de facto decriminalization, whereby possession and use of cannabis rarely lead to criminal prosecution.

“Actually, our law prohibiting dangerous drugs actually allows the cultivation of marijuana by laboratories and research centers ‘for medical experiments or research purposes or for the creation of new types of medicine,’” Albano said.

At this point, the technical working group (TWG) of the House Committee on Health on the marijuana bill, formed on August 11, is consolidating all inputs that have been coming in from authors, resource persons and government agencies for consideration since the first committee hearing on the proposed bill, he said.

With legalized medical marijuana, Colombia now joins other Latin American countries such as Chile, Brazil, Uruguay—the only country in the world to legalize it in all its forms—and most recently and notably Mexico, which has legalized marijuana fully or in part, moving away from a US-led drug policy.

LEANDER C. DOMINGO

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