The Philippines House committee on health is looking at the legalization of medical marijuana.
The primary author of Bill 4477, also known as “The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act,” Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III reported that the House decision to consider the proposal is a bright light for patients “with debilitating disease, severe pain, intense seizures and persistent muscle spasms.”
Albano called attention to research that cited medical cannabis as an effective treatment for seizures in children. He appealed directly to parents who have become financially challenged by and frustrated with the efficacy of current pharmaceutical drugs. He stressed that if the bill became law, the Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration would closely regulate cannabis for medical use alone. This legislation does not address or support recreational use of cannabis.
After consideration of Bill 4477 by the health committee, La Union Rep. Eufranio Eriguel announced that a technical working group (TWG) will be created to write its own draft of the proposal. The TWG will be responsible for gathering information, including research studies, medical professionals, government and non-government agencies and patient testimonies, and then drafting another version of the bill based on the findings.
Romeo Quijano, one of the physicians who will contribute to the committee’s decision, pointed to the example of the Unites States, in which 23 states and the District of Columbia allow cannabis to be used in medical treatment. Dr. Quijano addressed the committee,
“There is no single death in the US in 2014 attributed directly to the use of marijuana, unlike smoking and drinking.”
In addition, the doctor drew attention to ongoing studies by researchers in the U.S., Israel and Spain into the medical benefits of cannabis.
Another House supporter of the bill is Rep. Leah Paquiz, whose son died from what she termed “a debilitating disease.” Paquiz shared that her family wished there had been an effective and less expensive alternative to morphine to help her son in his pain.
Albano urged those resistant to legalization to “shed your fear of the unknown and open your minds to the potential benefits of medical marijuana.”
A deadline for the new proposal has not yet been set.