The Committee on Health chaired by Representative Ciriaco Gato Jr. of the Lone District of Batanes and the Committee on Dangerous chaired by Representative Ace Barbers of the 2nd District of Surigao del Norte) met in a joint meeting and agreed to create a joint technical working group (TWG) to fine-tune nine (9) measures seeking to legalize the medical use of cannabis.

MALASAKIT@BAYANIHAN Party-list Representative Anthony Golez Jr. and Batangas 2nd District Representative Gerville “Jinky Bitrics” Luistro were elected to lead the joint TWG which will deliberate on House Bill (HB) Nos. 241, 2007, 4638, 4866, 7817, 243, 6783, 7616, and 4208.

The bills propose to:  

(1) remove cannabis from the list of dangerous drugs and substances under existing laws,

(2) provide for the right of persons to access cannabis for medical purposes and

(3) establish the Philippine Cannabis Development Authority (PhilCADA).

Gato noted that the hearing helped lawmakers and stakeholders better understand the medical, social, and legal implications of cannabis.

Isabela 1st District Representative Tonypet Albano, author of HBs 2007 and 243, underscored that individuals who will benefit from medical cannabis would be able to live normal lives when these measures are passed into law.

“Individuals who will benefit from medical cannabis would be able to live normal lives when these measures are passed into law.”

Camarines Sur 2nd District Representative LRay Villafuerte Jr., author of HB 4208, said that legalizing medical cannabis would need an agency to strictly focus on its research, development, and regulation.

Cannahopefuls, Inc. President Dr. Donnabel Trias-Cunanan, a mother of a girl suffering from epilepsy, shared that medical cannabis can help control seizures.

“Medical cannabis can help control seizures.”

Department of Health Director Rodley Carza recognized the potential benefits of medical cannabis, but stressed the need for further research to strengthen the evidence on its efficacy.

Carza also emphasized the need for oversight on cannabis research development plans and projects, as well as provisions to address possible overlaps in PhilCADA’s mandates with those of existing agencies.

Gato and Barbers assured those present that the concerns raised and each provision of the bills will be discussed more extensively at the joint TWG meeting.



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