AMID a United Nations Commission on Narcotics Drugs’ decision to remove cannabis from its list of dangerous drugs, the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) yesterday stressed that cultivation, trafficking, possession and use of marijuana in the country remains a criminal offense punishable by law.
The DDB headed by Secretary Catalino S. Cuy and the PDEA headed by Director General Wilkins M. Villanueva issued the joint statement amid the release of the UN-CND decision which may open lots of misconception among Filipinos including some youth who are in favor of legalizing marijuana in the country.
“Following the decision of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (UN-CND) to remove cannabis from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (the “Convention”), the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) would like to enlighten the public on its limited implications to our drug control policies and actions,” the joint statement said.
“As previously stated by the DDB, the decision will have no immediate impact in terms of drug control as the government will still have the jurisdiction relative to classifying and regulating cannabis, commonly known as marijuana, at the domestic level,” both Sec. Cuy and Director General Villanueva explained.
The two top anti-narcotics officials said that ‘while cannabis has been removed from Schedule IV of the international drug control convention, it remains to be a dangerous drug under Schedule 1. The Convention limits exclusively to medical and scientific purposes the production, manufacture, export, import, distribution of, trade in, use, and possession of Schedule 1 substances.”
The two officials said that “the removal from Schedule IV means that UN-CND acknowledges that cannabis may have potential therapeutic or medicinal value. However, medical preparations or products with cannabis still need to acquire and comply with the regulatory control requirements from PDEA, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other government agencies.
Both added that control measures and regulations on the medical use of cannabis are highly needed to ensure the patient’s safety and prevent its use for recreational purposes.
More importantly, both Cuy and Villanueva explained that cannabis is still a dangerous drug as defined under Republic Act No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, as amended.
“The unauthorized importation, sale, possession, cultivation, and use of cannabis remain to be punishable under the law. PDEA will continue to enforce the law and enjoin the public to abide by the law,” said Villanueva.
Thru this clarification, the two officials expressed hope that the reclassification of cannabis by the UN-CND will not send a wrong message to the public, especially the youth that it is safe and legal for recreational use. It remains regulated because it is highly addictive and poses negative health, social, and legal consequences.
“Agencies of the government will remain steadfast in implementing measures to prevent the cultivation, possession, use, sale, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of cannabis, and other dangerous drugs as provided by law,” the two said in their joint statement. With Jun I. Legaspi