By Chito Chavez
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said it poses no objection to the proposed bill that would lawfully allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes but cited that certain conditions must be followed to provide safeguards under the law.
PDEA director general Aaron N. Aquino issued the revelation after the committee on health of the House of Representatives gave nod to House Bill 180, or “An Act Providing Compassionate and Right of Access to Medical Cannabis and Expanding Research into Its Medicinal Properties.”
The proposal was authored by Isabela Representative Rodolfo Albano III.
“PDEA supports the intention and purpose behind the proposed bill. The agency recognizes the need of patients to have access to safe, affordable, available medical cannabis prescribed by registered physicians in cases where cannabis has been found to be effective in the prevention, treatment and management of chronic or debilitating health conditions,” Aquino said.
However, he said PDEA has specific recommendations to help improve the bill.
Aquino noted that definition of the terms marijuana and cannabis is recommended to be included in the Definition of Terms.
Marijuana is a term used to describe all plant parts of Cannabis sativa, Cannabis sativa forma indica, and Cannabis ruderalis, namely: leaves, fruiting tops, stems, flowers and roots.
Cannabis, also known as marijuana among several other names, is a preparation of the cannabis plant (scientific name: Cannabis Sativa) intended for use as psychoactive drug or medicine.
In view of the foregoing definitions, PDEA has recommended that the proposed bill be very specific and only legalize the use of tablet or capsule preparations of the alleged medicinal component of cannabis and not cannabis per se.
Citing Section 6 of the bill, PDEA has proposed to amend paragraph b to read as proof of bonafide relationship with the patient.
The agency believes that in order for a physician to be competent to certify a patient’s medical need to use cannabis, he/she must show proof that he/she has a bonafide relationship with the patient.
In Section 26 of the bill, PDEA said it is more prudent to include a statement that “cultivation, possession, use, sale, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of cannabis not in accordance with the provisions of the Act shall be deemed a violation of Republic Act 9165, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
“PDEA is inclined towards the passing of House Bill 180 and eventually its enactment into law. However, control measures and regulations on the medical use of cannabis are highly needed to ensure the patient’s safety and prevent its use for recreational purposes,” Aquino said.
“But as of the moment, the fact remains that under existing Philippine laws, marijuana is a dangerous drug whose cultivation, sale and use are strictly prohibited. PDEA will continue to enforce the law and enjoin the public to abide by the law,” he added.
Tags: Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, Manila Bulletin, marijuana, medical use, PDEA poses no objection to the proposed bill lawfully allowing use of marijuana, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), regulations