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Senator Robin Padilla Files Bill to Legalize Medical Marijuana Use

As a compassionate alternative.
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Senator Robin Padilla is pushing for more progressive reforms after introducing Senate Bill No. 230 or the “Medical Cannabis Compassionate Access Act of the Philippines.”

Under the measure, Medical cannabis will be permitted “to treat or alleviate a qualified patient’s debilitating medical condition or symptoms.” It advocates for the legal use of medical marijuana or cannabis as a "compassionate alternative." The proposal covers acquisition, possession, transportation, delivery, dispensation, administration, cultivation, or manufacturing for medical purposes.

“The State should, by way of exception, allow the use of cannabis for compassionate purposes to promote the health and well-being of citizens proven to be in dire need of such while at the same time providing the strictest regulations to ensure that abuses for casual use or profiteering be avoided,” the bill’s explanatory note read.

A "debilitating medical condition" is defined in the measure as "diseases requiring admission into hospice care." Some of the medical conditions that the proposal addresses are cancer, epilepsy, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis, among others.

It will also cover severe nausea of any cause, sleep disorders including insomnia and sleep apnea, panic attacks, bipolar disorder, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, and more.

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The Food and Drug Administration will serve as the regulatory agency to determine a product's potency, consistency, safety, and effectivity while the Department of Health (DOH) will be tasked with establishing Medical Cannabis Compassionate Centers (MCCC) in tertiary hospitals. These MCCCs are authorized to acquire, deliver, possess, manufacture, store, sell, supply, transfer, and dispense medical cannabis.

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For regulation, the DOH should also have a Prescription Monitoring System and an electronic database of registered medical cannabis patients, physicians, and other qualified entities. Patients will need to have obtain a registry identification card first from the DOH before purchasing an item. They will be given a QR code, as well.

Meanwhile, the Dangerous Drugs Board and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency will be monitoring the process and products released by the MCCCs.

In the past, house bills like House Bill 6517 (now House Bill 279) and HB 3961 or "An Act to Establish the Philippines Cannabis Development Authority" have been filed with little-to-no success.

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