THE House of Representatives on Wednesday approved on second reading the bill legalizing and regulating the use of medical marijuana, a measure supported by Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The chamber, via voice voting, approved House Bill No. 6517, or the proposed Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act.
Ms. Arroyo, co-author of the bill, had previously said she personally used a “pain patch” to treat pain in her cervical spine, whenever she is in a country that allows the use of medical cannabis.
If enacted, the bill will mandate the Department of Health and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to monitor and regulate implementation of the law.
It specified that patients qualified to undergo such medication are those diagnosed as having “debilitating medical condition,” and those prescribed to receive “therapeutic or palliative benefits.”
Among others, debilitating medical conditions include cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous system of the spinal cord, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, post traumatic stress disorder, or rheumatoid arthritis.
Physicians prescribing medical marijuana must have a “bona fide” relationship with the patient and must be licensed by the PDEA.
Moreover, the bill will prohibit qualified patients to possess and smoke cannabis in any mode of public transport or public space, operate any motor vehicle, aircraft or motorboat while under the influence.
Offenders of the bill will be fined P50,000 to P100,000 or higher, upon the discretion of a court where a case on such violation is filed.
Further, the measure will also authorize public and private research on the use of medical cannabis. Charmaine A. Tadalan