There are over a thousand slang terms used to avoid saying the “M” word, especially when talking about it in public places. Weed, pot, dope, Mary Jane, and jutes are just among the more popular terms used by young and old alike (depends on your generation). Truth be told, it is never easy nor simple to be talking about something prohibited and, up to a certain extent, scandalous as marijuana and its use. It is simply, especially in a predominantly Christian country such as ours, taboo.
Marijuana is the second most used drug in the Philippines, after shabu. It is listed as prohibited by the Dangerous Drugs Board and has a detailed list of punishment for anyone caught importing, selling, manufacturing, cultivating, or merely having it in one’s possession. Ironically, the plant is grown in various areas in the country, with locals claiming that it is basically part of their culture to cultivate and consume the plant to keep them from getting sick.
Interestingly, the House Committee has already approved the use of marijuana in our country for medicinal purposes. Because while marijuana, or cannabis, is extremely addictive, it also has the ability to cure certain types of diseases.
The Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act
This rather controversial act will allow qualified patients to use cannabis (or marijuana) as a medicine. To make it easier for us to understand this interesting piece of news, we summarized the details and listed them below, as lifted from the reports of CNN and statements from the House Committee that authored the bill:
- The bill disallows marijuana to be administered in its raw form, as a plant, or as a hash which would be smoked.
- It seeks to legalize and regulate the medical use of cannabis, or marijuana, which is known to have therapeutic purposes in the treatment of chronic or debilitating medical conditions such as arthritis, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis.
- Centers dedicated to cannabis’ medical use and sale will be established in hospitals. These will be licensed by the Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration.
- The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency will regulate the dispensation of medical marijuana in these hospitals.
- Patients certified by physicians to qualify for the marijuana-based treatment will be issued identification cards, and doctors will be trained to specialize in the medical use of the drug.
- The bill also plans to create a research facility dedicated to studying the controversial drug’s medical benefits.
The bill does not make the use of marijuana legal in the Philippines. Anybody caught possessing or using marijuana, even for medical purposes, may be sentenced to years in jail. The plant is still considered a dangerous drug and all the laws pertaining to its use is not decriminalized.
We are interested to know what you think of this news. Comment your insights, reactions, and maybe even suggestions below.