By: Robert B. Roque, Jr.
The controversial issue on whether or not to allow the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes has continued to divide the people.
Perhaps some sectors should open their minds on the subject now that even the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has given its support to allow the medical use of marijuana provided that safeguards are taken.
PDEA Director-General Aaron Aquino said that the agency supports the intention and purpose behind the proposed bill that seeks to provide the right of access to medical cannabis and further research into its medicinal properties.
Also, PDEA reportedly recognizes the need of patients to have access to safe, affordable, available medical cannabis in health conditions where cannabis has been found to be effective in its prevention and treatment.
However, PDEA has proposed some amendments to the bill to ensure that marijuana will not be abused in any way.
Among its recommendations is for marijuana and cannabis to be clearly defined and the bill to be very specific and only legalize the use of tablet or capsule preparations of the medicinal component of cannabis and not cannabis by itself.
It also wants the genuine relationship with the patient be established before a doctor can certify a patient’s need to use medical cannabis.
The PDEA chief also wants to include a statement indicating that the cultivation, possession, use, sale, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of cannabis not in accordance with the bill shall be deemed a violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Aquino clarified that under existing laws, the use and sale of marijuana which remains a dangerous drug is prohibited and PDEA will continue to enforce the law.
Apart from permitting patients to take tablets or capsules, perhaps the law should also allow the use of cannabis oil extract (liquid form) which is also medicinal and taken orally as an anti-cancer treatment.
The Committee on Health of the House of Representatives has recently gaiven its permission to the proposed bill of Isabela Representative Rodolfo Albano III to allow the use of medical marijuana.
Firing Line believes this is all well and good if it serves to help improve and relieve the sickness of some people.
However, believe me when I say the bill will pass through an eye of a needle when it reaches the Senate where a strict lawmaker simply cannot accept the legalization of any kind of prohibited drug.
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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email [email protected] or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at http://www.tempo.com.ph/category/opinion/firing-line/
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