Solon backs medical marijuana bill

SENATOR JV Ejercito has expressed support for a bill seeking to allow the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

"If it will improve the conditions of any patient to prolong life specially of cancer patients and people with epileptic conditions, than I am open to it," Ejercito said.

Marijuana, or Cannabis sativa, is currently classified as a prohibited drug in the Philippines. The proposed "Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act," or House Bill No. 180, seeks to allow the use of marijuana for pain relief and other medicinal purposes.

"There have been studies in the United States pertaining to the use of marijuana wherein some states have allowed the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes but for our country, I am only in favor of medicinal and not for recreational purposes," Ejercito said.

The bill has hurdled the House committee on health, which Ejercito chairs.

"Controversial as it may be in the Senate due to the strong opposition of Senator Tito Sotto and others, I still favor its use for medicinal purposes only with the subsequent safeguards and parameters must be met first to make sure it will not be abused,” Ejercito pointed out.

The senator said, however, that the measure is still subject to review by the Senate.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency has recommended that the proposed measure be very specific and only legalize the use of tablet or capsule preparations of the medicinal component of Cannabis and not Cannabis per se.

The senator was in the city over the weekend to visit the Philippine Military Academy.
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