Robin Padilla Expresses Support for Cannabis Medicalization Act

Sen. Robin Padilla supports Cannabis Medicalization Act
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SEN. Robinhood “Robin” Padilla is optimistic that Senate Bill (SB) 2573 or the proposed “Cannabis Medicalization Act of the Philippines” would soon become a law.

“I am positive that SB 2573 would soon become a law. A United Nations Commission has proven that cannabis has medicinal benefits,” Padilla, who chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Medical Cannabis Compassionate Access Act of the Philippines, said during an interview on “Prime Times,” a program of The Manila Times hosted by lawyer Lia Badillo-Crisostomo.

The senator highlighted the recent decision by a United Nations Commission to remove cannabis for medicinal purposes from a category of the world’s most dangerous drugs. This decision, made in December 2020, could potentially pave the way for expanded marijuana research and medical use.

The Commission for Narcotic Drugs, based in Vienna and consisting of 53 member states, considered recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding the reclassification of cannabis and its derivatives. The focus was on removing cannabis from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, where it was previously listed alongside dangerous and highly addictive opioids like heroin.

While experts suggest that this vote may not immediately loosen international controls, it carries symbolic significance. Many countries look to global conventions for guidance, and the United Nations recognition of cannabis as having medicinal benefits is seen as a win for advocates of drug policy change who argue that international law is outdated.

During the interview, Padilla emphasized that his support for the Cannabis Medicalization Bill is backed by extensive studies and research. He personally visited countries like the Netherlands and Israel, both of which have legalized medical marijuana, to gather insights and information.

On Wednesday, Padilla presented Committee Report 210 for SB 2573, marking the beginning of plenary deliberations and debates. The report received support from 12 senators, including Senators Christopher “Bong” Go, Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, Mark Villar, Manuel “Lito” Lapid, Rafael “Raffy” Tulfo, Mary Grace Poe, and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd and Senate Majority Leader Emmanuel Joel Villanueva also signed the report.

SB 2573 aims to establish the Philippine Medical Cannabis Authority (PMCA) under the Department of Health (DoH) as the principal agency responsible for implementing the proposed law and regulating the access and use of medical cannabis. The PMCA will be supported by the inter-agency Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee and will oversee the identification of specific areas suitable for marijuana cultivation.

According to the proposed law, marijuana cultivation will only be permitted in closed, locked, and controlled facilities. Additionally, cultivation sites must be located at least one kilometer away from the property lines of existing public or private schools, colleges or universities, daycare centers, child care facilities, or residential areas.

The bill recognizes the beneficial and therapeutic effects of marijuana for certain medical conditions and restricts its use to the treatment or alleviation of debilitating diseases or symptoms in qualified patients.

In conclusion, the Cannabis Medicalization Act of the Philippines, represented by Senate Bill 2573, holds the promise of legalizing the use of medical marijuana. With the recent United Nations recognition of cannabis’s medicinal benefits, the bill’s proponents, led by Senator Robin Padilla, are optimistic about its future. The establishment of the Philippine Medical Cannabis Authority and the strict regulations surrounding cultivation and use aim to ensure the responsible and controlled implementation of medical cannabis in the country. As the bill progresses through plenary deliberations and debates, the potential for improved access to medical marijuana for patients in need grows closer to reality.

Source: The Manila Times

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