At least six lawmakers have decided to co-author a pending congressional bill legalizing the use of marijuana to treat ailments.
Principally authored by Rep. Rodolfo Albano 3rd of Isabela, House Bill (HB) 4477 or the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act has gained support with Representatives Ronaldo Zamora of San Juan City (Metro Manila), Emi Calixto-Rubiano of Pasay City (Metro Manila), Roy Señeres of OFW party-list, Regina Reyes of Marinduque, Elisa Olga Kho of Masbate and Henry Oaminal of Misamis Occidental now co-authors of the measure.
The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act will legalize and regulate the medical use of cannabis, which has been confirmed to have beneficial and therapeutic uses to treat chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition.
Also, the measure will provide accessible, affordable, safe medical cannabis to qualified patients as certified by medical doctors and provided by the Medical Cannabis Regulatory Authority.
Albano’s proposal defines cannabis as every kind, class, genus, specie of the plant cannabis sativa L., Cannabis Americana, hashish, bhang, guaza, churrus and ganjab and embraces every kind, class and character of marijuana, whether dried or fresh and flowering, flowering or fruiting tops or any part or portion of the plant and seeds thereof, and all its geographic varieties, whether as a reefer, resin, extract, tincture or in any form whatsoever.
Albano said the United States’ National Institute of Medicine conducted in 1999 showed beneficial uses of marijuana in treating and alleviating the pain, nausea and other symptoms associated with a variety of debilitating medical conditions including cancer, multiple sclerosis and Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS)
“This [bill]is in response to the demand of patients and caregivers, especially those suffering from cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe and chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures or sever persistent muscle spasms,” he pointed out.
The medical conditions covered by the legalization of marijuana include: cancer, glaucoma, epilepsy, Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, hepatitis-C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, cachexia/wasting syndrome, muscular dystrophy, severe fibromyalgia, spinal cord disease including but not limited to arachnoiditis, tarlov cysys, hydromyelia, syringomyelia, rheumatoid arthritis, fibrous dysplasia, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, Arnold-chiari malformation and syringomyelia, spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA), Parkinson’s, Tourette’s, Myoclonus, Dystonia, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, RSD (Complex Regional Pain Syndromes Type 1) Causalgia, CRPS (Complex Regional Plain Syndromes Type 2, Neurofibromatosis, Chronic Inflammatory Demylinating Polyneuropathy, Sjogren’s syndrome, lupus, interstitial cystitis, myasthenia gravis, hydrocephalus, nail-patella syndrome, residual limb pain or the treatment of these conditions, or any other debilitating condition or its treatment that is added by the Medical Cannabis Regulatory Authority as recommended by a panel of doctors constituted for this purpose.
Albano’s proposal seeks to establish a Medical Cannabis Regulatory Authority under the Department of Health which will: issue registry identification cards to qualified patients and caregivers; evaluate and approve applications for registration for Medical Cannabis Compassionate Centers; and scrutinize and approve applications for registration of Medical Cannabis Safety Compliance Facilities, which will conduct testing services for the potency and contaminants of cannabis.
The Medical Cannabis Compassionate Centers will have the authority to acquire, possess, cultivate, manufacture, deliver, transfer, transport, sell, supply and dispense cannabis, paraphernalia or related supplies and educational materials to registered qualifying patients.
The licensed physicians, for their part, will be required to make a complete assessment of the patient’s medical history and current medical condition to determine that the patient is suffering from a debilitating medical condition.
Those who will be deemed qualified to use marijuana to treat a medical condition, however, will be prohibited from doing so in any mode of public transportation or in any public place.
In addition, they are prohibited from operating, navigating or being in physical control of any motor vehicle, aircraft or motorboat while under the influence of cannabis, provided that a registered qualifying patient or visiting qualifying patients will not be considered to be under the influence of cannabis solely because of the presence of metabolites or components of cannabis that appear in insufficient concentration to cause impairment.
Those under cannabis in treating a medical condition cannot undertake a task that would require the use of body or motor functions impaired by the use of cannabis.