POLITIKAL PINOY has been quite critical lately of Senator Risa Hontiveros, particularly in reaction to her comments about the Philippines becoming a “killing fields” over President Duterte’s continuing war on drugs, as well as what she is calling the blurring of functions between the police and military should the president tap the latter in said war. (See our previous posts.)
But we are also ready to give credit when credit is due.
WE agree wholeheartedly in her proposal to legalize medical marijuana in the Philippines. It is part of a senate bill intended to provide a comprehensive public health approach to the country’s drug policy.
In contrast to ‘shabu’ and other addictive drugs that are the target of Duterte’s campaign, medical marijuana is specific to the cannabis plant that has a history of medicinal use dating back hundreds if not thousands of years in many parts of the world.
Already, the use of medical marijuana for medical and scientific purposes is legal in countries like Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. Australia is in the process of legalizing it.
While Federal law in the U.S. still prohibits medical marijuana use, over two dozen states have legislation in place that would allow the local use of the drug in accordance with established regulations.
Medical marijuana has helped certain medical patients like those with cancer, HIV/AIDS as well as those suffering from chronic pain. It can be administered using a variety of methods, including liquid tinctures, vaporizing or smoking dried buds, eating cannabis edibles, taking capsules, using lozenges, dermal patches or oral/dermal sprays.
Like in Hontiveros’ proposal, the keyword here is “regulated,” meaning the drug will not be available just to anyone who wants it. Rather, there will be a strict process to determine who will be allowed to cultivate, manufacture, market, prescribe and use it.
Allowing medical marijuana use is not only good public health policy. It is a humane policy that could alleviate the suffering of many who are faced with debilitating medical conditions — conditions that are sometimes not resolved through available pharmaceutical remedies.
Of course, there is always the danger of abuse, not only in as far as use of the drug is concerned but also in the trading of it. Unscrupulous elements will surely try their hand at making a lucrative business out of it, but it behooves upon the detailed implementation of the law to make sure that this does not happen.
As in most countries, medical marijuana should only be available upon recommendation by a licensed medical person and that only those with proper identification and certification should be allowed access to it, at regulated quantities.