The House Committee on Health unanimously endorsed the “Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act” yesterday, after in-depth consultations with patients, healthcare workers, and advocates. The bill was authored by Representative Rodolfo T. Albano III and is designed to legalize and regulate medical marijuana for the Asian island archipelago.
If adopted, the legislation will oversee the creation of Medical Cannabis Compassion Centres which will be licensed by the Philippines Department of Health. These centers will be permitted to dispense cannabis to qualified patients or caregivers through a pharmacist. The legislation also allows for medical cannabis research, which will also be licensed through the Department of Health.
Under the bill, Medical Cannabis Research and Safety Compliance Facilities will be responsible for cultivating and testing cannabis in an enclosed, secure location, and only patients who have a legitimate prescription showing a debilitating medical condition will be issued identification cards from the Department of Health.
“It’s very clear in the bill. We’re not doing it for recreational purposes and we are not decriminalizing marijuana,” said Albano in a statement to the media. The Rep. added that only processed marijuana medicines will be permitted, as the legislation does not allow raw cannabis for smoking or vaping.
The bill will now be sent to a Parliamentary plenary for amendments and then a second reading.