President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said he would not support the legalization of use of marijuana for medical purposes.
Speaking at the PDP-Laban campaign rally in Victorias City, Negros Occidental, Duterte said the legalization might lead to the proliferation of marijuana plantations.
"Not in my time. Some other president maybe," Duterte said. "I do not intend to legalize it. Ayaw ko. Gawain mo lang excuse ‘yan eh. Magtatanim ka ng iyo. Sabihin mo, 'Medicinal man kaya ‘to.'"
The President said he is "ignorant" about research regarding the supposed medicinal properties of marijuana even though Duterte himself admitted before assuming the country's highest post in June 2016 that marijuana was already an “ingredient of modern medicine.”
Duterte's past pronouncements in support of the proposed legislation prompted his spokesperson Salvador Panelo to assure the public last December that the President would sign it.
The House of Representatives passed its version of the bill in January. The Senate has yet to come up with one.
The House version will allow the use of marijuana in treating chronic or debilitating medical conditions and establish Medical Cannabis Compassionate Centers (MCCC) which will be authorized to sell, supply and dispense cannabis to qualified patients or their caregivers through S3-licensed pharmacists.
The license of the MCCC will be issued by the Department of Health and will be based in department-retained hospitals, specialty hospitals and private tertiary hospitals.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said last December that more research should be done first before legalizing the use of marijuana even for medicinal purposes.
Duque said marijuana can be used for palliative care that can help patients deal with pain, nausea and vomiting, but should not be considered as "cure." —JST, GMA News