• Marijuana planters appeal for livelihood option

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    TINGLAYAN, Kalinga: Affected by the intensified eradication of marijuana plant in the province, people admittedly involved in the cultivation of hundreds of hectares of hemp plantation are clamoring for an alternative source of income.

    This was confirmed after the Philippine National Police (PNP)-led inter-agency consultation to firm up possible alternative source of livelihood for families affected by the relentless anti-marijuana campaign here.

    Senior Supt.Victor Wanchakan, police provincial director, said the same concern was voiced out in one of the village meetings organized by the police as families admitted they are into marijuana cultivation.

    He said the cultivators, out of fear for being arrested and imprisoned for life, have stopped planting and asked help from authorities for alternative source of legal income.

    “The level of marijuana production [in the province]had already reached high scale and is becoming a major source of living among many families,” Wanchakan said.

    In Tinglayan town alone, police recorded more than P5-billion marijuana plants and its derivatives confiscated and destroyed since June 2016 as a result of the continuing operations against the illegal hemp. Also confiscated were processing tools used in the production of marijuana oil and marijuana bricks.

    Police said at least 27 people directly involved in large-scale cultivation of the contraband have voluntarily surrendered to police authorities.

    Meanwhile, Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano 3rd pushed for the passage of medical marijuana bill to be eventually signed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

    Inspired by Colombia’s legalized medicinal marijuana last year, Albano of Isabela’s 1st District, filed House Bill (HB) 4477 during the 16th Congress and is reportedly refiling the same before the 17th Congress.

    Albano’s HB 4477 or Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act was filed on May 26, 2014 proposes the creation of a medical cannabis regulatory authority under the Department of Health to regulate the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

    On December 22, 2015, Colombia, a country that was once synonymous with illegal drugs, has legalized medicinal marijuana.

    This year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos signed a decree making marijuana consumption, cultivation, purchase and sale legal for medicinal and scientific purposes.

    The lawmaker said this development in Colombia “is proof that medical marijuana would also be of great help for the Philippines in the health sector.”

    He noted at least 20 states in the United States have allowed the use of medical marijuana and so with the countries of Israel, Canada, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.

    “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 added.

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

    Albano also noted that the Philippine 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.”

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