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The bill seeks to legalize and regulate the medical use of cannabis in

compliance with government policy to balance its national drug control

program and the regulated use of dangerous drugs for treatment and
medication of patients with debilitating medical conditions.
In the explanatory note, Albano said the bill intends "to provide accessible,
affordable, safe medical cannabis to qualifying patients." (READ: JV Ejercito
for legalizing marijuana, netizens react)
The bill stated that cannabis (more commonly known as marijuana) "has been
confirmed to have beneficial and therapeutic uses to treat chronic or
deblitating disease or medical condition that produces one or more of the

cachexia or wasting syndrome

severe and chronic pain

severe nausea

seizures, including but not limited to those characteristic of epilepsy

severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those
associated with multiple sclerosis


Once enacted, the law will establish under the Department of Health a Medical
Cannabis Regulatory Authority that will regulate the medical use of cannabis
in the country.
The agency will issue registered identification cards to qualified patients as
well as maintain a registry of cannabis patients' caregivers who will assist
registered qualified patients.

The bill also proposes a Medical Cannabis Compassionate Center and

Medical Cannabis Safety Compliance Facilities.
Both should not be located within 1,000 feet of the property line of a preexisting school, college, or university, and should implement security
measures to prevent unauthorized entry as well as theft of cannabis.
The bill specified who will be exempted from civil and criminal liability for the
use of, or for activities related to, medical cannabis.
Under the bill, medical cannabis and its paraphernalia possessed, owned, or
used in connection with its medical use should not be seized or confiscated
unless the dosage exceeds what is prescribed by a qualified physician.
It also prohibits discrimination against both the registered qualified patient and
the designated caregiver.
A Joint Congressional Oversight Committee for Medical Use of Cannabis will
be established to oversee the implementation of the bill once it is enacted.
First step
Dr Donnabel Cunanan, whose daughter has a partial seizure disorder, said
the bill gives them hope. (READ: When medicines fail, marijuana is moms' last
"We dedicate this to all those who, like our children, suffer from debilitating
medical conditions like epilepsy, cancer, and multiple sclerosis," she said in a
mix of English and Filipino.
Cunanan is a member of the Philippine Cannabis Compassion Society that
has been working closely with Albano for the past months.

"This is just the first step but we are confident that by the grace of God, many
congressmen will vote yes to this."

We are the Philippine Cannabis Compassion Society. We are patients.

We are parents, families and friends of people with serious medical
conditions. We deem it urgent for patients to have legal, safe and
affordable access to cannabis as medicine.
Please support us in our appeal to approve House Bill No. 4477 (the
Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act) filed by Congressman
Rodolfo T. Albano III of Isabela on May 26, 2014. The bill seeks to legalize
the regulated use of cannabis as medicine to patients with debilitating
Cannabis has been used as medicine for more than 5,000 years. It has been
recognized as medicine by the United Nations since 1961. Scientific research
from all over the world have confirmed the plants therapeutic benefits for
patients with epilepsy, cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV-AIDs, among many other
serious diseases.
The United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 affirms the
importance of medical use of controlled substances. The Preamble notes that
"the medical use of narcotic drugs continues to be indispensable for the relief
of pain and suffering and that adequate provision must be made to ensure

the AVAILABILITY of narcotic drugs for such purposes". Articles 1, 2, 4, 9, 12,

19, and 49 contain provisions relating to "medical and scientific" use of
controlled substances, INCLUDING CANNABIS. In almost all cases, parties
are permitted to allow dispensation and use of controlled substances under a
prescription, subject to record-keeping requirements and other restrictions.
Scientific studies and the peoples demand for cannabis as safer alternative to
synthetic drugs have forced the governments in Europe and in more than 20
states in the US to recognize and legalize medical cannabis.
In the Philippines, the death of Moon Jaden Yutuc, suffering from Dravet
Syndrome, in September 2013 opened the discussion on the use of medical
cannabis. Despite the doctors declaration that they have exhausted all
possible options to stop the babys epileptic seizures, parents Jun and Myca
refused to give up. From the documentary Weed by CNNs Dr. Sunjay
Gupta, their readings and personal networks worldwide, they learned about
the healing properties of cannabis in treating severe forms of seizure. They
sought for cannabis oil and asked that they be permitted to give Moon Jaden
the medicine. But their request was denied. Moon Jaden may still be alive
today if treated with cannabis.
More and more people came out and bonded together to seek help for the
same reasons. Several hopeful patients have died since then without the
chance to legally avail of medical cannabis. How many more should we lose
as we wait for our lawmakers to pass HB4477?
The issue of medical cannabis is literally a matter of life and death. It is
an issue on the fundamental right to health and the right to life.
We humbly ask your support to pass HB4477, the act that will ensure
people with legitimate medical needs a LEGAL, REGULATED, SAFE and
AFFORDABLE access to medical cannabis.

Thank you very much.

Philippine Cannabis Compassion Society (PCCS)

Medical Cannabis Research Center (MCRC)
The movement to legalize medical cannabis took a fast turn of speed on September 30, 2014.
On that day, a breakfast forum was held in Club Filipino to discuss with doctors their opinion and
concerns about HB 4477 or the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act.
The forum was organized by the Office of Cong. Rodolfo Albano III and the members of the
Philippine Cannabis Compassion Society and the Medical Cannabis Research Center. The main
objectives were to share information, open a discussion and seek support for the bill.
The organizers presented these topics: the salient features of House Bill 4477, a backgrounder
on the local and international status of medical cannabis, and a brief summary of the
endocannabinoid system. The members of six medical associations came in with their own
presentation. They carried with them a position on the issue.
The participants in the forum were united in the view that, indeed, cannabis has medical,
palliative and therapeutic effects. We have taken a big leap in the legalization campaign!
The hopeful patients, parents, family members, advocates, other invited doctors, academicians
and policy experts were one in declaring their support for the bill. The representatives of the

medical associations present were unanimous in saying they oppose HB 4477.

Since that forum, the media has covered the issue on print and television. We would like to state
here our broad views on the issues that have since arisen. We will soon release our point by
point response in a series of statements.
Our View
The discussion on medical cannabis is now focused on efficacy, safety, dosing, allowable
products and regulatory control.
HB 4477 is a comprehensive law that aims to make medical cannabis accessible to Filipinos
who suffer from debilitating conditions. The bill adopts the full meaning of compassion, i.e.,
feeling or showing concern for someone who is sick, hurt, and poor. It is not limited to the
narrow meaning and use of the compassionate special permit.
We see that the bill is focused on the care and well-being of the patient, of the many sick people
who are in desperate need of relief from suffering. Patients with epilepsy, cancer, HIV-AIDS,
multiple sclerosis and chronic pain are among the many who will benefit from the bill.
The bill prescribes a highly regulated and safe environment under the supervision of the Medical
Cannabis Regulatory Authority (MCRA). Patients and doctors are required to have a bonafide
relationship. Patients are closely supervised by qualified and licensed doctors to manage their
medical condition.
The bill allows the extraction of medicine from the whole plant and favors its entourage effect.
For cultivation and dispensing, the bill provides strict regulations for licensed Medical Cannabis
Compassionate Centers (MCCC) and installs security mechanisms to prevent abuse and illicit
use. To ensure the quality and safety of cannabis medicines, the bill requires the putting up of
the Medical Cannabis Safety Compliance Facility (MCSCF). This facility shall also conduct
scientific and medical research on cannabis aside from providing testing services for potency
and contaminants.
Under the bill, all stakeholders are involved, various interests are considered. We like that the bill
opens the gate for our local doctors, scientists, chemists, agriculturists, botanists, and

conscientious Filipino investors to develop the full potential of local cannabinoid medicine. With
the bill, the government gets the mandate to help spur a friendly, caring and safe environment to
those who will be treated with medical cannabis.
Finally, the bill aims to create an infrastructure and dispensing system that can produce the
medicine at more affordable cost to the people.
On the other hand, there are ten medical organizations that propose the regulated importation
of oral cannabis extract and/or synthetic analogues with proven efficacy for specific symptoms
and the importation of the plant for research purposes. These will be done under current
regulations of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The ten medical organizations plan to invoke the Compassionate Special Permit and to create a
task force composed of specialists, scientists, ethics and regulatory authorities.
Our Stand
We will continue to explore all avenues to gain immediate legal access of patients to safe,
regulated and affordable medical cannabis.
We appreciate very much the helping hand extended by the ten medical organizations. We will
encourage our patients to participate in the proposed clinical trials using imported
pharmaceutical cannabis extracts.
We implore all concerned, however, not to put our patients and their families in an
uncomfortable position where they have to choose between HB 4477 and the proposal of the
ten medical organizations.
We will continue to work for the passing of HB 4477. We uphold the interest of all Filipinos
suffering from debilitating diseases. Our bias is for the patients and their families. We support
their exclusive right to choose what is best for them. We recognize their right to participate in the
management of their own health.
In this light, we will actively promote the establishment of a multi-stakeholder Working Group
composed of doctors, hopeful patients and their families, advocates, health care policy advisers
and civil society organizations to fine tune HB 4477. We call on everyone to work hand in hand

and engage the issue in a cooperative and professional manner:

Respect all stakeholders. No single opinion is more important than others.
Steer the campaign for the legalization of medical cannabis as a public health issue.
Let science, compassion and human rights guide us all.
Yes to HB4477! Heal the Filipino!!!