House panel approves marijuana use for medical purposes

THE House committee on health on Tuesday approved the bill seeking to legalize the use of cannabis or marijuana for medical purposes, forwarding the measure to plenary for debates.

House Bill 180, authored by Isabela Representative Rodito Albano, hurdled the panel, the first time such bill advanced that far in Congress.

Albano said he is “elated” over its advancement, adding that both House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and President Rodrigo Duterte are pushing for it.

"[T]he Speaker wants it and the President wants it passed too, but for medicinal purposes," Albano said.

The bill also seeks the creation of Medical Cannabis Compassionate Centers under the supervision of the Department of Health that will regulate the use of marijuana.

A research facility will also be put up to conduct further studies on marijuana's palliative use.

Albano said he expects that 90 percent of the House members will back the bill, as long as they are given a comprehensive explanation of the bill's salient features. (SunStar Philippines)

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