A LAWMAKER proposed declassifying cannabis or marijuana as a dangerous drug, citing its benign effects and potential as a source of government revenue.
Davao Del Norte Rep. Pantaleon D. Alvarez told the House dangerous drugs panel on Tuesday that classifying cannabis as a dangerous drug “does not make sense at all,” considering that other products which he deems more harmful such as alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and sugary drinks remain legal.
According to Mr. Alvarez, regulating the production and sales of cannabis can also generate taxes that could be used for infrastructure projects and national debt payments.
He noted that cigarettes are cancerous while sugary drinks could put a person at risk of diabetes, yet these remain legally sold because of tax revenues.
Under Republic Act No. 9165 or the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, cannabis is considered a dangerous drug because of its harmful effects on a person’s physical and mental well-being.
Mr. Alvarez said cannabis does not make people reckless and aggressive, unlike alcoholic drinks.
“Instead of alcohol, give them cannabis. Leave them overnight. You can bet, when you check that room, everyone inside will be calm and at peace. All of them will be friends.”
Mr. Alvarez also clarified that the bill only proposes delisting cannabis from the list of dangerous drugs and does not promote recreational marijuana.
Batanes Rep. Ciriaco B. Gato, health committee chair, raised concerns on the measure because of the variations of cannabis.
He told the committee that while cannabidiol is referred to as medical marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol “impairs judgement, causes hallucination, increases heart rate, and slows down your reactions.
The panel created a technical working group to further discuss the measure.
Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace S. Barbers, dangerous drugs committee chair, said in a statement, “It is about time that we look at the positive side of this substance. If there is a good side to it, then by all means we should consider it.” — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz