ISABELA, Philippines- Isabela First District Representative Rodolfo Albano III on Sunday, March 12, said he refiled the bill that seeks to legalize the use of medical marijuana in the Philippines.
With the first stage done, Albano said there is 80% chance that the House Bill 180 will pass during the current Congress.
He said he is optimistic of the support of his colleagues since President Rodrigo Duterte had once expressed he’s supportive of “medical marijuana.”
“Ang daming receptive, very receptive naman sila. (A lot of them are receptive.) They truly understand that it’s only for medicinal purposes,” Albano said in an interview, referring to his colleagues in Congress.
The bill seeks to legalize and regulate the medical use of cannabis in compliance with government policy to balance its national drug control program and the regulated use of dangerous drugs for treatment and medication of patients with debilitating medical conditions.
Albano is a member of the supermajority bloc in Congress, a group of congressmen supporting the current administration.
The HB 180 was similar to the HB 4477 Albano filed during the 16th Congress. Although the bill has enough support, he said there was not enough time to deliberate on it.
In the same bill, once it is enacted, the law will establish under the Department of Health a Medical Cannabis Regulatory Authority that will regulate the medical use of cannabis in the country, Rappler reported.
The agency will issue registered identification cards to qualified patients as well as maintain a registry of cannabis patients’ caregivers who will assist registered qualified patients.
The bill also proposes a Medical Cannabis Compassionate Center and Medical Cannabis Safety Compliance Facilities.
Both should not be located within 1,000 feet of the property line of a pre-existing school, college, or university, and should implement security measures to prevent unauthorized entry as well as theft of cannabis.
The bill specified who will be exempted from civil and criminal liability for the use of, or for activities related to, medical cannabis.
Under the bill, medical cannabis and its paraphernalia possessed, owned, or used in connection with its medical use should not be seized or confiscated unless the dosage exceeds what is prescribed by a qualified physician.
It also prohibits discrimination against both the registered qualified patient and the designated caregiver.
A Joint Congressional Oversight Committee for Medical Use of Cannabis will be established to oversee the implementation of the bill once it is enacted.
A straightforward Albano said the oppositions of House Bill 180 are “stupid” for failing to see the “purpose” of the proposed law.
Albano, who authored the bill, said several “hardheaded” medical organizations, including the Philippine Medical Association, continue to oppose law despite explaining that “it could not be used for recreational purposes.”
The Congress’ Committee on Health on March 8 discussed and forwarded the bill to the technical working group for further deliberations in the House.
Albano said none of the representatives have so far expressed their oppositions to the bill.
“If you are against this bill, makitid and utak mo. Ayaw mo namang mag itsura doon na makitid ang utak mo at bobo ka. Kasi yung iba, baka raw abusuhin. Eh bakit nila aabusuhin iyan eh hindi naman ‘yan sisigarilyuhin,” Albano said.
(If you are against this bill, then you are narrow minded. You wouldn’t want to look narrow minded and stupid. Some said this may be abused. How can this be abused if it’s not for smoking?)
Albano cleared the medical marijuana can only be used upon prescriptions to treat symptoms like achexia or wasting syndrome, severe and chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, including but not limited to those characteristic of epilepsy, severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those associated with multiple sclerosis.
He said most of the association of doctors who are opposing the bill have “pharmaceutical interests.”
“So yung makikitid ang utak, yung mga doctors na may pharmaceutical interest, yun ang makaka-away ko dito. Dahil may pino-protektahan silang interest nila. So no matter how you explain and tell to them how this is beneficial to us syempre, sarado, close,” he said.
(Those narrow minded doctors who have pharmaceutical interest will be my enemies here. It’s because they are protecting their interests. So no matter how you explain and tell to them how this is beneficial to us, they are closed to accepting it.) -Northernforum.net