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Congress approval of ‘Marijuana’ use ‘Almost Done’

Advocates of medical cannabis

GOOD news for advocates of medical cannabis or marijuana as its approval in Congress to legalize its use, “is almost done,” according to experts.

This was disclosed by Dr. Richard Nixon Gomez and his colleagues at last Monday’s Media Health Forum of Bauertek Corporation, a research, development and medical manufacturing company in Guiguinto, Bulacan.

On the other hand, Dr. Gem Marq Mutia, adult medicine specialist and founder of Philippine Society for Cannabinoid Medicine, said that many people are now enlightened as to the benefits of medical cannabis as medicines to various ailments such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, chronic pain, chemotherapy associated with nausea and vomiting, multiple sclerosis and intractable epilepsy.

Mutia said that pushing for the legalization on the use of medical cannabis as medicine has begun in 2014. In the 19th Congress, it is now with the technical working group and soon to be deliberated in the plenary and then the final step is the signing of the bill by the President.

It is also a record high with nine bills in Congress and one bill in the Senate. Mutia said that it’s no longer a subject of debate whether marijuana can cure or not but only the time of its approval and how to regulate its use.

Dr. John Ortiz Teope, a researcher, critic, political analyst, media practitioner and the secretary general of TIMPUYOG Philippines, said that though many people are now enlightened on the benefits of the medical cannabis, he sees the resistance to be coming from the pharmaceutical industries. He called on everyone to be vigilant and people to be educated about marijuana benefits.

He said that Filipinos should bear in mind that it is not the fight of “addicts” but for health’s betterment and for the economy as well.

Gomez, a scientist, inventor and the general manager of Bauertek Corporation, explained that unlike other countries, the Philippines can sustain the supply of the medical cannabis, once its manufacturing is legally allowed.

He further disclosed that in a survey conducted by his company, respondents were “almost unanimous” in favor of using medical cannabis as a medicine. Respondents include doctors, students, OFWs, teachers, government workers, among others. Another nationwide survey was conducted by a refutable survey firm, results of which will be disclosed in due time.

The RA 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 may delist marijuana as one of illegal drugs, once its use as medicine is legalized.

Since research, clinical trials and 60 countries have legalized marijuana use as medicine, there is no reason for Filipinos not to accept it, Gomez said.

The implications of legalizing the use of marijuana include prolonging life, decreasing the number of sick people as well as those who died, lesser medical expenses. “Health security should be given importance by the government,” Dr. Teope, stressed. (Nelson Santos-PAPI)

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