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House panel OKs bill on legalizing medical marijuana use

The House Committee on Health has approved a bill seeking to legalize and regulate the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

The House panel unanimously endorsed House Bill 180, otherwise known as the proposed "Philippine Medical Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act," following consultations with patients, advocacy groups, health care practitioners and experts.

The objective of the bill, authored by Isabela Representative Rodolfo Albano, is to legalize and regulate the medical use of cannabis, found to have beneficial and therapeutic uses in treating chronic or debilitating medical conditions.

If enacted into law, the measure will establish Medical Cannabis Compassionate Centers (MCCC) which are authorized to sell, supply and dispense cannabis to qualified patients or their caregivers through S3-licensed pharmacists.

The MCCC is licensed by the Department of Health based in department-retained hospitals, specialty hospitals and private tertiary hospitals.

The bill will also provide for the establishment of the Medical Cannabis Research and Safety Compliance Facilities mandated to conduct scientific and medical research on the medical use of cannabis.

The DOH will issue identification cards to qualified medical patients upon certification from physicians with whom they have a bona fide relationship as having debilitating medical condition. They should also receive therapeutic or palliative benefits from medical cannabis use.

The department will also provide training for medical cannabis physicians. —KG, GMA News