MANILA, Philippines—A bill seeking to legalize marijuana for medical purposes was formally filed in the House of Representatives.

House Bill 4477 filed by Isabela Representative Rodolfo Albano III seeks to regulate the medical use of cannabis through a regulatory body under the Department of Health.

The bill was read on the floor for the first reading on Monday.  It was referred to the Committee on Health.
According to the draft bill, a copy of which was furnished, the bill is titled “Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act.”

The bill prohibits the possession and smoking of cannabis, and the use of marijuana for non-medical purposes.

It also prohibits using medical marijuana in public and driving a vehicle under the influence of marijuana.

Under the bill, the government should “legalize and regulate the medical use of cannabis which has been confirmed to have beneficial and therapeutic uses to treat chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition.”

The bill refers to diseases that cause the patient to suffer chronic pain, severe nausea, seizure, among others.

The bill also seeks to create a Medical Cannabis Regulatory Authority, which will be under the Department of Health.

The office would have the power to recommend doctors for patients needing medical marijuana, as well as issue identification cards to qualified patients, among others.

The bill also seeks to create a Medical Cannabis Compassionate Center, which is licensed to “acquire, possess, cultivate, manufacture, deliver, transfer, transport, sell, supply and dispense cannabis…”

Also, a Medical Cannabis Safety Compliance Facility will be set up under the authority to “conduct scientific and medical research on medical use of cannabis” and to “test services for its potency.”

A qualified “medical cannabis physician” should be the one attending the patients’ needs. The doctor, according to the bill, should have “professional knowledge on the use of medical cannabis.”

Qualified patients need to be issued identification cards to use medical marijuana.

Under the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, which amended the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, mere possession of less than 300 grams of marijuana is punishable with 12 to 20 years imprisonment and fine of P300,000 to P400,000.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer