Actor-turned-Senator Robin Padilla is pushing for the legalization of medical marijuana in the Philippines, citing its possible contributions to the country’s economy and government projects through taxes.
During his privilege speech at the Senate plenary session on Monday (Sept 12), Padilla said that the medical cannabis industry could significantly contribute to government coffers.
The government needs a P5.268-trillion budget in 2023.
“Kailangan po nating palaguin ang ating ekonomiya at sa puntong ito, malaki po ang maiaambag ng industriya ng medical cannabis na tuloy-tuloy po ang pag-usbong sa iba’t ibang dako ng mundo,” Padilla said.
(We need to strengthen our economy; at this point, the medical cannabis industry, which have been rising in other parts of the world, can significantly contribute to it.)
“Panahon na po para tayo naman ang magpunla ng sariling atin. Tandaan po natin ang kasabihan: kapag may itinanim, may aanihin,” he added.
(It is time for us to plant our own. Remember the saying: what we sow, we reap.)
Padilla noted that sales of medical cannabis worldwide reached $37.4 billion in 2021, with some countries using the taxes to even build schools.
The legalization of medical marijuana is among Padilla’s priority measures, saying that it could be a "compassionate alternative means of medical treatment."
Earlier, Padilla said that the bill will also seek to expand research into the medicinal properties of marijuana, which is widely used in other countries as herbal medicine to treat certain conditions, including gout, rheumatism, and malaria.
"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 read.
Medical marijuana is reportedly used to ease symptoms caused by certain medical conditions such as:
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Epilepsy and seizures
Multiple sclerosis and muscle spasms
Severe and chronic pain
Severe nausea or vomiting caused by cancer treatment
Padilla’s proposed bill will designate the Department of Health (DOH) as the principal regulatory agency that shall establish Medical Cannabis Compassionate Centers in public tertiary hospitals.
Should the bill pass into law, the DOH will set up a prescription monitoring system and an electronic database of registered medical cannabis patients and their physicians with issued registry identification.
Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings. She advocates for animal welfare and press freedom. Follow her on Twitter @polarubyo for regular news and cat postings. The views expressed are her own.
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