THE House of Representatives has passed the controversial Marijuana Bill.
With 163 yes votes, five no and three abstentions, House Bill 6157 or the Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act was passed on third and final reading.
Main proponent Isabela Rep. Rodito Albano expressed elation over the passage of the bill which he had been pushing for since the previous congresses.
The bill provides that marijuana can be used strictly for medical purposes only, particularly for patients suffering from serious and debilitating diseases.
HB 6517 provides for the compassionate and right of access to medical cannabis. It also proposes expansion of medical research into its medicinal properties.
To date, 27 countries have legalized medical cannabis and 33 states plus Washington, DC have passed laws legalizing medical cannabis.
House Bill 6517 adopts a very strict regulatory framework while at the same time promoting the people’s right to health by ensuring affordable and safe access to quality medical cannabis.
In an interview, Albano stressed that only processed marijuana will be allowed in the country.
He added that when processed, some of marijuana’s addictive properties will be removed while retaining its medicinal properties in the same way morphine is derived from opium.
The bill strictly bans smoking, growing, or possessing of marijuana leaves. It will only be available in medicinal form if prescribed by doctors, Albano also said.
“In this bill, you cannot smoke marijuana, you cannot grow it as a plant inside your house, and you cannot be in possession in its leaf form. It should be processed to medicinal form,” he added.
The bill provides that only doctors with “S3 licenses” will be able to prescribe medical marijuana, and research about the plant will be done by the government under strict rules, he said.