SunStar POV is a new segment gathering Points of View from various quarters on the hottest issues of the day. Weigh in by contacting us on our social media platforms SunStar Cebu, SunStar SuperBalita and SunStar Philippines.
EARLY this month, President Rodrigo Duterte received flak for making a joke about "using marijuana" to catch up with the "killing" activities at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo already came to Duterte's defense, saying the President was merely cracking a joke. Duterte also brushed this off, saying it was just a joke.
Although he has had a strong stance against illegal drugs since Day 1 of his presidency, the President has always been open about legalizing marijuana for medical purposes.
House Bill 6517 or the Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, which seeks to legalize medical marijuana for medicinal purposes, is pending before the House of Representatives.
This conversation was once more shoved into the spotlight when last Monday, Dec. 17, Miss Universe Catriona Gray said during the question and answer portion in the Final 5, that she would support the legalization of marijuana as long as it was for medical use.
Gray's answer was, "I am (agreeable to legalization of marijuana) for medical use, but not so for recreational use because I think if people were to argue, what about alcohol and cigarettes? Everything is good but in moderation."
Using the social media platforms of SunStar Cebu, SunStar SuperBalita and SunStar Philippines, we asked our followers and readers what their take is on this issue.
SunStar asked: Do you agree with Gray's answer that it is okay to legalize marijuana for medical purposes but not for recreational use?
Here are some of their thoughts on this issue:
Cannabis has been used as medicine from as far back as 10,000 years ago. Of course, YES, to its legalization! - Rowena Burden
Dapat noon pa. Kaso, putik, pera2x lang ang politico. Tumatanggap ng pera sa malalaking pharma para dili ma legalize. There are lots of good stories about the healing powers of MJ. Those are naturally done unlike synthetic medicines. Cigarettes, alcoholic beverages ka klaro nga naay negative side effect, naging legal. - Erperpevar Bared
The legalization of marijuana has been a longtime argument in our society today. But I believe that all things in this world can either make us or break us. Thus, when it comes to the usage of marijuana as a vice and in breaking us would be something I would be strongly up against. But when it comes to the usage of marijuana for medicinal purposes, and of course being the solution to medical conditions, then I would honestly support it. It would be a good opportunity for medical experts to explore what such kind of plant is yet to offer, especially when it comes to curing medical conditions. But then again, good things in life are not made to be abused--and that includes marijuana. - Martie A. De Castro
Parehas ra na sa katong cough syrup, legal pero naay uban gihimong addiction, or rugby legal pero ang uban gisinghot. So marijuana dapat doctors and hospital ray mopadagan. Outside ana, illegal na kay obviously naay elements for addiction. - Mark Anthony Pino
Not for smoking it kay mong gara ang mga hinampak na smokers. Mangamong pas uban sa ilang aso. - Laran James Michael
Uyon kaayo, basta para sa medikal ra nga katuyoan ug dili sa hinanggaw ug bati nga mga katuyoan. Dunay mga findings nga makatabang ang Cannabis or marijuana sa pag-ayo sa nagkadaiyang mga balatian. - Jhon Daryl Canoy
Marijuana should be legalized, taxed and regulated just like alcohol and tobacco. This discussion has endured for too long, and we should already lift the stigma surrounding it. Seek to educate and campaign for its decriminalization (help reduce court and corrections costs). Regulation also allows the public safer access rather than getting it from illicit sources. Plus, taxing and allocating dispensaries create additional and significant revenues for the country and create businesses/jobs. Just like tobacco & alcohol, moderation is key. - Meg Villacastin
Before my sister died of leukemia, she looked for marijuana because she learned it could help with her pain and her appetite. She wasn’t able to get any because she didn’t know where to get it without fear of getting caught or shamed for her need. For people like my sister, who need marijuana to somehow alleviate their suffering, then yes, I believe, like Catriona Gray, that this should be legalized. However, there should be stipulations that it should only be for medical use and not to be enjoyed by those people who just want a toke while partying. - Leah May Lim-Atienza
Noooooo way! Pamaagi na sa yawa himuon zombie ang mga tawo. Na abuse na mn gani illegal. Unsa na lang ma legal? Especially since ang balaod sa Pilipinas sobra ka huyang. - Lindy Mclans
Kung ma-legal na ang marijuana makatabang na sa may sakit pero magkashortage tag bugas kay makagana daw na ug kaon. - Gordon G. Kilat
Yes, I am (in favor). She said that for medical purposes not for recreation, so it means para ras pang medical nga paggamit. Sa hospital ra gamiton, dili e- bisyo! Ampay sad sa mga adik2 ug maohon. - Maryden Irah Donio Bughao
Dli ko mouyon ana bisan pa napamatud-an na cya nga tambal. Abusuhon lang nas mga kadaghanan. Imbes makaayo, makadaut na hinoon. Dli jud na pwede i-legalize sa lugar nga daghang drug abusers. - Joanne Codilla
(Compiled by Marian C. Baring, Joshua G. Solano and Joyce Villaflor)