AMID the debate over the passage of a law seeking to legalize and regulate the use of medical marijuana, Benguet officials stressed that marijuana cultivation remains illegal in the province.
Governor Crescencio Pacalso appealed to illegal weed cultivators from the municipalities of Kibungan, Bakun and Kapangan to stop planting marijuana so the province would be declared as drug-cleared.
“We are pleading those cultivators to stop. If their reason is livelihood, the province is doing its best to address the problem,” Pacalso said. “Although nobody is apprehended, one thing that is clear is that there are still those who attempt to plant and we cannot tell that they totally gave up.”
Before the end of January, the House of Representatives passed on third and final reading House Bill 6517 or the Act Providing Compassionate and Right of Access to Medical Cannabis and Expanding Research into its medicinal properties and for other purposes.
The Senate panel on February 5 opened a hearing on the legalization of medical marijuana.
“Secondly, the discussion of legalization of medical marijuana for both houses remain very strong which is encouraging the people of which they should understand once this continue, there are guidelines that should be followed and not all are allowed to plant. To become a producer for medical marijuana, you have to be licensed, you have to indicate your source, they should not be confused,” explained the governor in the local dialect.
Benguet and Kalinga remain the top sources of marijuana in the Cordillera despite the several measures implemented by authorities to eradicate the plants.
On February 2, some 214 fully grown marijuana plants were uprooted in Bakun. In Kibungan, 39,200 marijuana plants worth P7.6 million were uprooted in Barangay Tacadang on February 5. However, no cultivators were found on site.
Kibungan Mayor Cesar Molitas said only barangays in Tacadang and Badeo are not yet drug-cleared.
On the talks of medical marijuana, “if this will help the stakeholders, we want this to be legalized,” Molitas told SunStar Baguio.
However, the mayor stressed this must be controlled and the plantation site must be identified.
Molitas also asked the cooperation of constituents to help the local government unit and the Philippine National Police by reporting any plantation of the illegal cannabis.