Legal marijuana tag opposed

By Dexter A. See | May. 27, 2014 at 12:01am

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet—Cordillera lawmakers opposed on Monday a proposal to legalize the cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes because it was prone to abuse and “lawmakers often become willing partners of lawbreakers.”

Benguet Rep. Ronald Cosalan said the medicinal properties of marijuana should not be used as excuse to legalize the cultivation and sale of marijuana because no one can guarantee that the safeguards against abuse will not be violated.

“We are not yet ready for such a thing. Legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes will open the floodgates for abuse, especially here in our country where law enforcers are prone to be very willing partners of law breakers,” Cosalan said.

A bill filed by Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano titled “Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act” proposed to legalize use of marijuana or cannabis for medical purposes and to set up an agency to cultivate and manufacture the drug. Marijuana was proven to treat severe pain, nausea, seizures, muscle spasm and sclerosis.

Marijuana is illegal in the Philippines and the Cordillera Region has been tagged as the major producer of high-grade variety. Marijuana abuse could lead to physical impairment.

Cosalan said legalizing marijuana for medical purposes was impractical based on our experience with numerous banned drugs sold in the market that are abused by drug addicts.

Baguio City Rep. Nicasio Aliping said Congress must not rush action on the bill because the sentiments of stakeholders must be evaluated and carefully studied to prevent opportunities for abuse.

“This bill must be carefully studied. While the purpose is medical, there should be sufficient safeguards and strict regulations so that ambiguity and abuse can be avoided,” Aliping said.

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