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Solon airs caution on medical marijuana bill


By Ben Rosario

Citing the supposed lack of definitive, scientific proof on the medical benefits of marijuana, House Senior Deputy Minority Leader and Buhay Party-list Rep. Lito Atienza said approval of House Bill 6517 or thje Medical Cannabis Law may have an adverse effect on government’s anti-drug abuse program.

Atienza stressed that there’s no rush to having the measure passed even before thorough research and medical studies can be presented to support the medicinal use of the substance.

Atienza debated for over one hour with proponents of the bill on Wednesday, pointing out that supporters have yet to present results of laboratory research about positive uses of marijuana or cannabis oil.

Authors of the bill, led by Isabela Rep. Rodito Albano insist that various states in the US, as well as countries in Europe, have legalized marijuana use for medical purposes precisely because medical and laboratory researches showed specific medical benefits of marijuana.

According to Albano, the substance is allowed to be used under the guidance of doctors for persons suffering from debilitating ailments such as cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord, epilepsy and even AIDS.

Atienza said the pending bill is not supported by such medical findings claimed by Albano.

“The proponents must show definitive proof to back up their claims that marijuana is a medicine. Failure to do so would render this bill inutile and defective,” he said.

“We are all for finding ways to help alleviate the plight of Filipinos suffering from debilitating diseases.  But we cannot do so by passing a law that would allow access to a prohibited drug such as marijuana without any extensive medical research to show that this is indeed safe for our patients,” he added.

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