House Panel Gives Thumbs Up on Bill to Legalize Medical Marijuana Use in the Philippines

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This could be the first step to curing countless of illnesses.

The legalization of marijuana has been one of the hottest topics around the world. It has been the subject of much debate, as more and more people believe it can be the cure to many debilitating illnesses present in our world today.

Until its prohibition in 1937, extract of Cannabis sativa (marijuana) was one of the top three most prescribed medicines in the US. When it became illegal, its use as a medicine became restricted. Despite these regulations, research on the medical use of marijuana continued.

In the Philippines, the drug war has made headlines around the world, with some people lauding the Philippine President Duterte, and others criticizing the bloodshed. With this at hand, many Filipinos thought that the legalization of medical marijuana could be far from happening—but they were wrong.

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The House Committee on Health panel unanimously endorsed House Bill 180, otherwise known as the proposed “Philippine Medical Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act,” following consultations with patients, advocacy groups, health care practitioners and experts.

According to a report by GMA network, the objective of the bill as authored by Isabela Representative Rodolfo Albano, “is to legalize and regulate the medical use of cannabis, found to have beneficial and therapeutic uses in treating chronic or debilitating medical conditions.”

If enacted into law, the measure will establish Medical Cannabis Compassionate Centers (MCCC) which are authorized to sell, supply and dispense cannabis to qualified patients or their caregivers through S3-licensed pharmacists.

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The MCCC is licensed by the Department of Health based in department-retained hospitals, specialty hospitals and private tertiary hospitals.

The bill will also provide for the establishment of the Medical Cannabis Research and Safety Compliance Facilities mandated to conduct scientific and medical research on the medical use of cannabis.

But of course, not everyone can purchase the drug. Only qualified people with DOH-issued identification cards can buy and use the drug. Medical patients with certifications from physicians with whom they have a bona fide relationship as having debilitating medical condition are more than qualified to purchase the drug. They should also receive therapeutic or palliative benefits from medical cannabis use.

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