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Law students debate on legalizing medical marijuana in PH

The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Bill is still pending with the House
committee on health, more than a year after it was filed in 2014
MANILA, Philippines Is it time to legalize the medical use of marijuana in the
Philippines?
Debaters from the Ateneo de Manila University Law School and the University of Sto
Tomas (UST) Law School discussed the issue at "The Law and Policy Debate: An Interuniversity Dialogue" held at the House of Representatives on Tuesday, June 9.
It has been more than a year since Isabela 1st District Representative Rodolfo Albano III
filed House Bill 4477 or the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Bill, and it already
has 69 co-authors to date.
The two debate teams argued on the necessity to passs HB 4477, with Ateneo on the
affirmative side, and UST on the negative side. (READ: PH doctors say no to medical
marijuana bill)
While no team was declared a winner, Ateneo's second affirmative speaker Pearl
Simbulan was chosen as both Best Speaker and Best Interpellator.
Simbulan argued that legalizing medical marijuana will provide more options to patients
who need it. It will also allow research and development on the "better uses" of
marijuana to continue.
The adjudicators were former Philippine Permanent Representative to the World Trade
Organization Manuel Teehankee, Likhaan director and co-founder Junice Melgar, and
Malou Tiquia, host of CNN Philippines' current affairs program Agenda.
Debate arguments
Below are the arguments of each speaker:

LEGALIZE MEDICAL MARIJUANA. Patrick Vincent Cocabo (L), Pearl Simbulan (C) and
John Michael Villanueva (R) from Ateneo Law School argue that legalizing medical
marijuana is a necessity in the Philippines. Photo by Kristine Pauline Ongtengco
1st affirmative speaker: John Michael Villanueva
1. There is a necessity to pass this bill in order to comply with
the constitutional mandates and international obligations of
promoting the right to health.
2. There is a need to distinguish between the ill and the
criminals, which can only be done by this bill.
2nd affirmative speaker: Pearl Simbulan
1. Legalizing medical marijuana is the only and the best
comprehensive approach to health. What we think in
legalizing medical marijuana is that we provide the optimal
care: [providing] a range of options that a physician who is in
the best position to make these decisions can do for the
patient.
2. Because we illegalized blanketly marijuana, research on
these kinds of things stopped, and it has become harder for
us to discover even better uses of marijuana.
3rd affirmative speaker: Patrick Vincent Cocabo
"The question should not be whether marijuana is good or bad, but rather, how can we
control it? What is the best strategy to save lives?"
1. Government regulation is important.
2. The bill provides an important mechanism of checks and
balances of citizen accountability.

NO TO MEDICAL MARIJUANA. Marie Sybil Tropicales (L), John Paul Fabella (C) and
Jackielyn Bana (R) from UST Law School argue against legalizing medical marijuana in
the Philippines. Photo by Kristine Pauline Ongtengco
1st negative speaker: Marie Sybil Tropicales
1. Medical marijuana should not be legalized because at
present, its detriments outweigh its benefits. Medical
marijuana is not necessary for legislation because
essentially, it is not a cure in itself.
2nd negative speaker: John Paul Fabella
"The contentious documented benefits of medical marijuana cannot outweigh its
adverse effects to the government and society."
1. On a socio-political level: Legalization sends a wrong
message to public, especially to the youth, that marijuana is
medically benevolent and not a harmful drug. The state
cannot afford to risk our society to the dangers of increased
marijuana use by implying a stance that it is not harmful.
2. Legalizing medical marijuana is not advantageous to the
government.
o Documented benefits are highly contentious at the
moment and inconclusive.
o It undermines law enforcement by forcing officers to
distinguish medical users and recreational users.
3rd negative speaker: Jackielyn Bana

1. Is government ready for this? There are too much gray


areas in the policy implementation at present, that no matter
how noble the objective of the law is, that no matter how
flawless its features are, it all go to waste because of the
corrupt implementation of the laws.
o Example: Regulating tobacco, alocohol, sleeping
pills, and prescription drugs
2. This country has a problem with strict and faithful
implementation of government policies and regulations.
o What guarantee do we have that a seriously addictive
drug could be regulated when simple regulations on
tobacco and alcohol products prove to be impossible
to impose?
o Once marijuana is legalized, there is no possibility of
regulating it.
Adjudicators comment
The adjudicators welcomed the law students' interest in discussing the advantages and
disadvantages of legalizing medical marijuana in the Philippines. (READ: Solon: Let's
start talking about medical marijuana)
"I'm happy that the youth are taking positions especially on an issue which is very, very
real in your sector," Tiquia said after all interpellations were done. She lauded the bill for
being "very rigid," and disagreed with UST's Fabella that regulating marijuana means
legitimizing it.
Melgar noted how "selective" the bill is on legalizing marijuana only for medical use.
(READ:When medicines fail, marijuana is moms' last hope)

"All the public knows about marijuana is the stereotype, that it's all for getting high, and
nobody shines a light on the few instances where it is the most compassionate for
children who have epilepsy, for patients who have cancer," Melgar added.
HB 4477 is still pending with the House committee on health. Albano said it is possible
to enact the bill during the 16th Congress, but admitted the probability is "iffy" and will
depend "on how fast they will settle the issue on the BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law)."
Albano said Congress is "focused" on the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which reached the
House plenary on June 1.
Tuesday's debate was organized by the Teehankee Center for the Rule of Law and
Ateneo's St Thomas More Debate and Advocacy Society, in partnership with the Office
of Representative Albano and the Office of Ang Nars party-list Representative Leah
Paquiz. Rappler.com
Medical marijuana image from Shutterstock
Filed under:Ateneo de Manila University Law SchoolCompassionate Use of Medical
Cannabis BillHouse of RepresentativesJunice MelgarMalou TiquiaManuel
TeehankeeRodolfo Albano IIIThe Law and Policy Debate: An Inter-university
DialogueUniversity of Sto. Tomas Law SchoolHouse Bill 4477
Legalizing medical marijuana: 'Listen to patients'
Can doctors support the legalization of medical marijuana in good faith?

'LISTEN TO PATIENTS.' Junice Melgar (L), Manuel Teehankee (C), and Malou Tiquia
(R) are the adjudicators of the inter-university debate on legalizing medical marijuana
held June 9, 2015, at the House of Representatives. Photo by Kristine Pauline
Ongtengco
MANILA, Philippines Medical groups in the Philippines are opposed to a House
billseeking to legalize and regulate the medical use of marijuana in the country, but one
advocate believes that doctors will be convinced once they listen to their patients.

"I am actually for the legalization of medical marijuana because of what I see among
patients," Dr Junice Melgar, director and co-founder of Likhaan Center for Women's
Health, said at an inter-university debate on House Bill 4477 or the Compassionate Use
of Medical Cannabis Bill, on Tuesday, June 10.
Melgar, one of the judges of the debate, urged doctors to study the evidence more,
especially patients' testimonies.
"I know that even in the US, they did a 90-degree turn only when they listened to the
patients, and therefore, the patients' voice will be very important here," Melgar told
Rappler after Tuesday's debate.
Under HB 4477, marijuana "has been confirmed to have beneficial and therapeutic uses
to treat chronic or deblitating disease or medical condition."

The bill is still pending with the House committee on health, but it has already garnered
69 co-authors to date.
More studies needed
As more sectors talk about medical marijuana, Melgar hopes the bill won't stall in
Congress the way reproductive health (RH) law did. (READ: Solon: Let's start talking
about medical marijuana)
"I remember the RH took 13, 14 years. It will probably [take] shorter for this one [HB
4477] because it's not so controversial, and you know that the Catholic Church has
actually agreed to the compassionate side," she explained.
In 2014, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines expressed its support for
theuse of marijuana to ease the pain of the terminally ill.
Melgar also agreed with Pearl Simbulan, a debater from the Ateneo de Manila
University Law School, who said that prohibiting medical marijuana in the country
hampers research and development on the "better uses of marijuana."

"Our problem is because it's illegal, it's very rare to have the good quality of evidence,
so the evidence that we have are scanty; they're more personal anecdotes," Melgar
explained. (READ: When medicines fail, marijuana is moms' last hope)
She added, "People are scared to do research on something that's illegal."
Isabela 1st District Representative Rodolfo Albano III, who filed the bill in 2014, told
Rappler the fate of HB 4477 in the 16th Congress will depend on how fast lawmakers
will settle the issue on the Bangsamoro Basic Law. Rappler.com
When medicines fail, marijuana is moms' last hope
A group of Filipino mothers is seeking access to medical marijuana in the country
MANILA, Philippnes On television a week ago, Senator Tito Sotto made yet again a
controversial statement and he was not even joking in a noontime show.
In an interview on ANC Prime Time, the staunch anti-illegal drugs advocate was asked
what his message was for the group of Filipino mothers who want to raise awareness on
the medicinal use of marijuana.
The problem kasi is that they probably used marijuana when they were pregnant. That
is the problem na nakikita ko. There are no studies that will back them up, but all the
empirical studies that we have will tell them otherwise. As a matter of fact, kung
nagkaproblema ka, baka gumagamit ka nung araw, kung yung anak mo
nagkaproblema, he said.
(The problem is that they probably used marijuana when they were pregnant. That is the
problem I see here. There are no studies that will back them up, but all the empirical
studies that we have will tell them otherwise. As a matter of fact, if their child
experienced problems, it might be that you used marijuana before.)
He said he was quoting reports from the Institution of Medicine and the American
Psychiatric Association, even admitting his statement was probably dangerous.
After all, in a separate statement, he said he did not want to indulge the hallucination
of some sectors urging the legalization of marijuana use.

These mothers, however, want legal access only to medical marijuana, and some are
conservatives who are only resorting to marijuana because they have long given up on
ineffective medicines.
We're talking about conservative mothers here. If you [could] only see how
conservative these parents are and the process they went through just to accept
marijuana as a medicine, Kimmy, founder of the Philippines Moms for Marijuana, told
Rappler.
Moon Jaden's story
The group came into the public's awareness around October 2013 when they helped
Jun and Myca Yutuc advocate for legal access to medical marijuana in the Philippines.
The Yutucs lost their daughter Moon Jaden to Dravet Syndrome, a rare, severe form of
intractable epilepsy with seizures that cannot be controlled by medication. It was also
the condition of Charlotte Figi, whose 300 seizures every week were reduced to 2-3
seizures a month after medical marijuana calmed her brain.
Her story was featured in a CNN documentary by Dr Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon and
CNN's chief medical correspondent. After watching the feature, Kimmy said, the Yutucs
were convinced marijuana can cure their daughter.
Even doctors after realizing Moon Jaden could no longer handle the
spasms advised Jun and Myca to bring their daughter home to seek alternatives
means, ABS-CBN News reported.
They were already working on arrangements with suppliers underground when Moon
Jaden unfortunately died on September 19.
Moon Jaden became a celebrated case in the Philippines a story that brought
thousands of parents to the Philippines Moms for Marijuana Facebook page. For the
first time, they learned they are not alone.
Medical history

Dr Donnabel Cunanan, 38, is a dentist by profession. Her 2 year-old daughter Julia has
a partial seizure disorder, and despite being on two medications already, the seizures
continue, about 5-10 times a day. She had 55-60 seizures last August 2013, which led
her neurologist to suspect Julia might have Dravet Syndrome.
For fear that the seizures might further affect Julia's pancreas, kidney, and liver,
Donnabel decided to seek other options, including marijuana.
I won't engage with something that has no basis, she told Rappler. She did her own
research, validated facts, and came across legitimate medical journals. The Cannabis
plant, she said, is a medicine longer than it is not, as it was first used as a medical
treatment in China in 1737.
Her plea is for lawmakers to at least allow a review of marijuana's medicinal value in the
Philippines.
HOSPITALIZED. During one of her seizures, Julia was brought to the hospital. File
photo from Donnabel Cunanan
Philippines Moms for Marijuana is in talks with the government, specifically Isabela Rep
Rodolfo Albano III and the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), to petition a formal research
on medical marijuana that will be done locally.
Albano recently expressed his intention to file in March a bill that will seek legalization of
marijuana use for medicinal purpose.
The group also met with a pharmaceutical company, as well as local and foreign experts
as they continue compiling enough research materials they can present to the DDB.
If approved, the medical marijuana will be tested in a controlled environment for the
entire research period which could go on for a minimum of 5 years.
Contrary to misconceptions, the medical marijuana will not be smoked. It will come in oil
form which can be eaten with food. One of its components, cannabidiol (CBD), is
considered to have a wider scope of medical application.

They hope they can begin soon, while the public discussion on medical marijuana is still
ongoing.
I don't encourage anyone to go underground. We're willing to wait because we don't
want anyone to get in trouble, Kimmy said in a mix of English and Filipino.
Saving grace?
But desperation can push anyone to do the unexpected.
54 year-old Cynthia Algas-Vargas from General Santos City once went to Manila looking
for marijuana that can help her son.
For 21 years, her son JJ suffered from both a seizure disorder and autism which she
said all began after he received a baby vaccine in 1992.
When told she could get jailed for looking for marijuana, she said, 21 years na kaming
nakakulong sa hirap, suffering, agony, desperation [at] sa sakit. Ano pa bang mas lalala
sa [pagkakakulong]?
(We have already been imprisoned in hardships, suffering, agony, desperation, and pain
for 21 years. What could be worse than this?)
Last Monday, January 27, JJ had 6 brain-damaging seizures. One tonic-clonic seizure
can already be weakening, Cynthia said, recalling how the experience still frightened her
despite seizures being a norm in their household for the last two decades.
What's painful for her is not the millions spent in medication and treatment, but the
thought that after doing everything, JJ is not improving at all.
The research on medical marijuana could just be his saving grace.
For everyone who believes that marijuana is a medicine, I hope we encourage more
people. I also hope we can already research about it and not wait 'til mothers find ways
to go to Colorado for treatment," she said in a mix of English and Filipino.

In Colorado, non-profit organization Realm of Caring use concentrated medicinal


cannabis oil as a form of alternative therapy for residents affected by cancer, multiple
sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, Parkinsons disease, and other conditions.
People from other states travel all the way to Colorado where marijuana is legal both
for medical-marijuana patients and for anyone who is 21 years old and older just to
avail of the therapy.
CONSULTATION. Philippines Moms for Marijuana meets with officials from the
Dangerous Drugs Board to talk about medical marijuana. File photo from
Philippines Moms for Marijuana
Keep talking
After his "insulting" remark, the Philippines Moms for Marijuana asked Sotto to
apologize not to the group but to all the mothers in the world with children suffering from
different conditions.
A remark like that of Sotto's shows that general acceptance of medical marijuana in the
Philippines will not come anytime soon, Kimmy said. For now, the group will keep talking
and raising awareness about it because they are willing to wait until the country is ready.
I have information that other people might benefit [from]. Am I going to keep the
information to myself? My conscience can't take that. This is life saving, and I can't keep
silent about this. Rappler.com

Legalize Marijuana in the Philippines?


Marijuana is legal in some US states. In the Philippines, as the law stands
today, marijuana is illegal. It is a dangerous drug and the selling/use of
marijuana is a criminal offense. Soon it would be completely legal to use
marijuana in the Philippines. That is, if Congress passes a proposed bill and
President Benigno Aquino signs it into law.
Pending at the House of Representatives is House Bill No. 4477 (full text
below), proposing a law to be known as the Compassionate Use of
Medical Cannabis Act, regulating the medical use of cannabis and
establishing for the purpose the Medical Cannabis Regulatory Authority.
According to the principal author of the bill, Rep. Rodolfo T. Albano III,
cannabis has many currently accepted medical uses and foreign states
have enacted medical cannabis laws that remove criminal sanctions for the
medical use of cannabis. There surely are pros and cons of decriminalizing
the medical use of marijuana. One of the arguments against regulating
marijuana is precisely that regulation. The problem with regulating
marijuana is the same problem with regulating the issuance of drivers
license. Its an open secret that even those who do not know how to drive
can get a drivers license. So, as far as the regulation aspect is concerned,
are we comfortable with the open secret that marijuana can be legally
issued to practically anyone?
Feel free to express your opinion on this proposed law (use the comment
section below). To have a more productive discussion, however, its best to
first read the explanatory note and full text of HB 4477.

Sixteenth Congress
First Regular Session
HOUSE BILL NO. 4477
Introduced by Honorable Rodolfo T. Albano III

EXPLANATORY NOTE
This bill seeks to regulate the medical use of Cannabis and establish for the
purpose the Medical Cannabis Regulatory Authority.
The recorded use of cannabis as medicine goes back to about 2,500-10,000
years ago in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine. Modern research has
confirmed the beneficial uses of cannabis in treating and alleviating the pain,
nausea and other symptoms associated with a variety of debilitating medical
conditions including cancer, multiple sclerosis, and HIV-AIDS as found by the
National Institute of Medicine of the US in March, 1999.
Cannabis has many currently accepted medical uses in the US, having been
recommended by thousands of licensed physicians and more than 500,000
patients in 21 states with medical marijuana laws. Like the twenty states and
the District of Columbia in the United States, Israel, Canada, the Netherlands
and the Czech Republic have enacted medical cannabis laws that remove
criminal sanctions for the medical use of cannabis, define eligibility for such
use, and allow some means of access, in most cases, through a dispensary.
Other states in the European Union, such as Finland, Portugal, Spain and
Luxembourg, in recognition of the medical value of cannabis, have developed
various forms of de facto decriminalization, whereby possession and use of
cannabis, rarely lead to criminal prosecution.
In the Philippines, the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 recognized the
medical use of drugs classified as dangerous drugs including marijuana when
it said in Section 2: The government shall, however aim to achieve a
balance in the national drug control program so that people with legitimate
medical needs are not prevented from being treated with adequate amounts
of appropriate medications, which include the use of dangerous drugs. It
went further in Section 16 when it provided that in the case of medical
laboratories and medical research centers which cultivate or culture
marijuana, opium poppy and other plants, or materials of such dangerous
drugs for medical experiments and research purposes or the creation of new
types of medicine, the Board shall prescribe the necessary implementing
guidelines for the proper cultivation, culture, handling, experimentation and
disposal of such plants and materials.

The Sing Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961 as amended by the 1972


Protocol provides in its Preamble: Recognizing that the medical use of
narcotic drugs continues to be indispensable for the relief of pain and
suffering and that adequate provisions must be made to ensure the
availability of narcotic drugs for such purposes. It further provides in Article
4 that subject to the provisions of this Convention, to limit exclusively to
medical and scientific purpose the production, manufacture, export, import,
distribution, trade in, use and possession of drugs.
Section 11 of the Philippine Constitution states that it is the policy of the
state to adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to health
development which shall endeavor to make essential goods, health and
other social services available to all the people at affordable cost. In line
with this, it is the purpose and intent of this Act to provide accessible,
affordable, safe medical cannabis to qualifying patients with debilitating
medical condition as certified by medical doctors and approved by the
Medical Cannabis Regulatory Authority. This bill also provides for the control
measures and regulation on the medical use of Cannabis to ensure patients
safety and for effective and efficient implementation of this Act.
In view of the foregoing, approval of this bill is earnestly sought.

AN ACT REGULATING THE MEDICAL USE OF CANNABIS, ESTABLISHING FOR


THE PURPOSE THE MEDICAL CANNABIS REGULATORY AUTHORITY AND
APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines


in Congress assembled:
SECTION 1. Short Title. This Act shall be known as the Compassionate
Use of Medical Cannabis Act.
SEC. 2. Statement of Policy. It is the policy of the State to provide
measures to achieve a balance in the national drug control program so that
patients with debilitating medical condition may receive adequate amount of

treatment and appropriate medications from the regulated use of dangerous


drugs.
Toward this end, the State shall 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 that produces
one or more of the following: cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe and
chronic pain; severe nausea; seizures, including but not limited to those
characteristic of epilepsy; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including
but not limited to those associated with multiple sclerosis.
SEC. 3. Definition of Terms. As used in this Act:
a) Bona fide relationship refers to a physician and patient relationship
wherein a licensed physician has made a complete assessment of the
patients medical history and current medical condition, including an
appropriate diagnostic and personal physical examination sufficient to
determine that the patient is suffering from a debilitating medical condition;
b) Cannabis refers to every kind, class, genus, specie of the plant Cannabis
sativa L., Cannabis Americana, hashish, bhang, guaza, churrus, ganjab and
embraces every kind, class and character of marijuana, whether dried or
fresh and flowering, flowering or fruiting tops, or any part or portion of the
plant and seeds thereof, and all its geographic varieties, whether as a reefer,
resin, extract, tincture or in any form whatsoever;
c) Medical Cannabis Compassionate Center refers to any entity registered
with the Medical Cannabis Regulatory Authority created under this Act, and
licensed to acquire, possess, cultivate, manufacture, deliver, transfer,
transport, sell, supply and dispense cannabis, paraphernalia or related
supplies and educational materials to registered qualifying patients.
d) Medical Cannabis Safety Compliance Facility refers to any entity registered
with the Cannabis Regulatory Authority created under this Act, that conducts
scientific and medical research on medical use of cannabis and provides
testing services for its potency and contaminants relative to its safe and
efficient use, cultivation, harvesting, packaging, labelling, distribution and
proper security;

e) Debilitating medical condition means one or more of the following: cancer,


glaucoma, epilepsy, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus,
acquired immune deficiency syndrome, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral
sclerosis, Crohns disease, agitation of Alzheimers disease, cachexia/wasting
syndrome, muscular dystrophy, severe fibromyalgia, spinal cord disease,
including but not limited to arachnoiditis, Tarlov cysts, hydromyelia,
syringomyelia, Rheumatoid arthritis, fibrous dysplasia, spinal cord injury,
traumatic brain injury, Multiple Sclerosis, Arnold-Chiari malformation and
Syringomyelia, Spinocerebellar Atxia (SCA), Parkingsons, Tourettes,
Myoclonus, Dystonia, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, RSD (Complex Regional
Pain Syndromes Type I), Causalgia, CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndromes
Type I), Causalgia, CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndromes Type II),
Neurofibromatosis, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy,
Sjogrens syndrome, Lupus, Interstitial Cystitis, Myasthenia Gravis,
Hydrocephalus, nail-patella syndrome, residual limb pain, or the treatment
that is added by the Medical Cannabis Regulatory Authority as recommended
by a panel of doctors constituted for this purpose.
f) Medical use refers to delivery, possession, transfer, transportation, or use
of cannabis and its paraphernalia to treat or alleviate a registered qualified
patients medical condition or symptoms associated with the patients
debilitating disease or its acquisition, administration, cultivation, or
manufacturing for medical purposes.
SEC. 4. Medical Cannabis Regulatory Authority. There shall be
established under the Department of Health (DOH), a Medical Cannabis
Regulatory Authority, hereinafter referred to as the Authority, which shall
regulate the medical use of cannabis in the country.
SEC. 5. Powers and Functions. The Authority shall have the following
powers and functions:
a) Approve the recommendation made by the certifying doctor who has a
bona fide relationship with the patient that, after completing a medical
assessment of the patients medical history and current medical condition,
including an appropriate personal physical examination, in his professional
medical opinion, a patient is suffering from a debilitating medical condition,

and is likely to receive therapeutic or palliative benefit from the medical use
of cannabis.
b) Issue registry identification cards to patients and caregivers who are
qualified or allowed to use and administer cannabis upon qualification and
submission of the requirements set by the Authority;
c) Evaluate applications for registration and issuance of certification as
Medical Cannabis Compassionate Center or Medical Cannabis Safety
Compliance Facility based on the safety and regulatory requirements set by
the Authority;
d) Establish rules and regulations for the issuance of safety compliance and
registration certificates;
e) Suspend or revoke the registration certificate of Medical Cannabis
Compassionate Centers or Medical Cannabis Safety Compliance Facilities or
order their closure for multiple or serious violation by the registrants or any
of their agents of nay rule promulgated by the Authority;
f) Confiscate cannabis and its paraphernalia in the possession of any person
who is committing or has committed a violation of this Act; and
g) Intensify research that may result in improved understanding of cannabis
treatment for diseases and other adverse health conditions.
SEC. 6. Director-General. The Authority shall be headed by a DirectorGeneral who shall be appointed by the President of the Philippines from the
list of specialist physicians recommended by the Secretary of Health. The
Director-General shall have a university degree in medicine and/or a postgraduate degree in organic chemistry and must have completed an
executive course in any regulatory management. The Director-General shall
have the rand of Undersecretary.
SEC. 7. Duties and Functions of the Director-General. The DirectorGeneral shall have the following duties and functions:
a) Exercise overall supervision and direction for the efficient and effective
day to day management and operations of the Authority;

b) Approve the Authoritys organizational structure, staffing patterns,


operating and capital expenditures;
c) Implement and enforce policies, decisions, orders, rules and regulations
issued by the DOH and the Authority relative to the use of medical cannabis;
d) Engage the services of experts, specialists or consultants either on full
time or part-time basis, as may be required in the performance of its duties
and functions;
e) Submit to the President and Congress through the Secretary of Health, an
annual report generally dealing with the activities and operations of the
Authority; and
f) Exercise such other powers and functions and perform such other duties as
may be authorized, delegated or assigned.
SEC. 8. Deputy Director-General. The Director-General shall be assisted
by a Deputy Director-General. The Deputy Director-General shall be a holder
of a masters degree in pharmaceutical or allied sciences, and shall have an
equivalent executive course in any regulatory management.
SEC. 9. Qualified Medical Cannabis Physician. To be competent to
certify the patients medical need to use cannabis for treatment, a physician
shall have the following qualifications:
a) a doctors degree in medicine;
b) a bona fide relationship with the patient; and
c) license to prescribe drugs
d) professional knowledge of the use of medical cannabis
SEC. 10. Qualified Medical Cannabis Patient. Qualifying patient
means a person who has been diagnosed by a certifying physician with bona
fide relations with the patient as having debilitating medical condition as
defined in Section 3 and who in the physicians professional opinion will
receive therapeutic or palliative benefits from the medical use of cannabis.

SEC. 11 Identification Cards. The Authority shall issue registered


identification (ID) cards to qualified patients after a careful review of the
documents required by the Authority and included in the implementing rules
and regulations of this Act.
If the qualified patient is younger that eighteen (18) years of age, the
certifying physician shall not recommend the issuance of the ID card unless
she/he has explained the potential risks and benefits of the medical use of
marijuana to the custodial parent or legal guardian who has the responsibility
for health care decisions for the qualifying patient and she/he consents in
writing to the following:
a) Allow the qualified patients medical use of cannabis;
b) Serve as the qualified patients designated caregiver; and
c) Control the acquisition, dosage, the frequency of medical use of cannabis
by the patient.
SEC. 12. Medical Cannabis Patient Caregiver. A cannabis patient
caregiver must be at least 21 years of age and must not have been
convicted of an offense for the use of dangerous drugs under Republic Act
(RA) No. 9165. The caregiver shall give consent in writing of her/his
willingness to assist the qualified patient in the medical use of cannabis and
shall not divert the medical cannabis in his/her possession to any person
other that the patient. She/he shall assist only one (1) cannabis patient at a
time.
The Authority shall maintain a registry of cannabis patients caregivers and
shall issue their appropriate ID cards.
SEC. 13. Medical Cannabis Compassionate Center (MCCC). An entity
shall operate as a Medical Cannabis Compassionate Center after approval of
its application and registration with the Authority.
The Authority shall establish a system for the evaluation of the application
and licensing of a Medical Cannabis Compassionate Center based on the
following criteria:

a) The suitability of the applicants proposed location including compliance


with any local zoning laws and the geographic convenience to patients, if
approved;
b) The qualification of principal officer and board members character and
relevant experience, including any training or professional licensing related
to medicine, pharmaceuticals, natural treatments, botany, or cannabis
cultivation and preparation, and their experiences in running a health or
medical center;
c) The applicants system for operations and services, including its staffing
and training plans, whether it has sufficient capital to operate, and has
ability to provide an adequate supply of medical cannabis to the registered
patients;
d) The sufficiency of the applicants procedure for accurate record keeping;
e) The sufficiency of the applicants measures for safety, security, and the
prevention of diversion, including proposed locations and security devices to
be employed;
f) The applicants system for making medical cannabis available on an
affordable basis to registered qualified patients; and
g) The applicants procedure for safe and accurate packaging and labelling of
medical cannabis, including the measures to ensure that all medical
cannabis shall be free from contaminants.
The Authority or its agents shall have access to MCCCs records and
premises at any time of the day or night whenever work is being undertaken
therein, and to question any employee and investigate any fact, condition or
matter which may be necessary to determine violations or which may aid in
the enforcement of this Act or rules and regulations issued pursuant thereto.
SEC. 14. Dispensation. A MCCC shall guarantee the appropriate
dispensation of cannabis and shall not release more that the prescribed
dosage for one month to a registered qualified patient or designated
caregiver. The MCCC shall comply with this limitation by maintaining internal
confidential record of each entry which include information on the date and

time the cannabis was dispensed, the amount of cannabis being dispensed
and on whether it was dispensed directly to the patient or to the designated
caregiver.
SEC. 15. Medical Cannabis Safety Compliance Facilities (MCSCF).
Safety compliance facilities may only operate if they have been issued a
valid registration certificate by the Authority.
The Authority shall evaluate applications of medical cannabis safety
compliance facilities based on the following criteria:
a) The suitability of the applicants proposed location including compliance
with any local zoning laws and the geographic convenience to patients, if
approved;
b) The proposed principal officers and board members relevant
experiences, including any training or professional licensing related to
analytical testing, medicine, pharmaceuticals, natural treatments, botany, or
cannabis cultivation, preparation, and testing and their experiences in
running a drug testing facility center;
c) The sufficiency of the applicants measures for safety, security, and the
prevention of diversion, including proposed locations and security devices to
be employed; and
d) The propose safety compliance facilitys procedure for its operations and
services, including its staffing and training plans, and whether it has
sufficient capital to operate.
SEC. 16. Safety Requirements. A registered MCCC or MCSCF shall:
a) Implement appropriate security measures to deter and prevent the theft
of cannabis and unauthorized entrance into areas containing cannabis;
b) Cultivate or test cannabis in an enclosed, locked location at the physical
address or addresses provided during the registration process, which can
only be accessed by their employees or agents;
c) Display their registration certificates in their premises at all times.

SEC. 17. Location. A registered MCCC and MCSCF shall not be located
within one thousand (1000) feet of the property line of a pre-existing school,
college or university.
SEC. 18. Exemption From Civil and Criminal Liability. The following
shall be exempt from civil and criminal liability:
a) Qualified patient for using cannabis in the prescribed dosage for treatment
of debilitating medical condition as determined and certified by a bona fide
recommending physician;
b) Registered and designated cannabis caregiver for assisting a registered
qualified patient and for possessing not more than the exact prescribed
dosage of cannabis needed by the qualifying patient;
c) The certifying physician for prescribing medical cannabis or providing
written certifications stating that in the physicians professional opinion, a
patient is likely to receive therapeutic or palliative benefit from the medical
use of cannabis to treat or alleviate the patients serious or debilitating
medical condition or symptoms: Provided, That the physician has established
a bona fide relationship with the patient and conducted a thorough clinical
analysis of the patients medical conditions;
d) Registered and licensed medical cannabis compassionate center and its
agents for selling cannabis seeds to similar entities that are registered to
dispense cannabis for medical use or for acquiring, possessing, cultivating,
manufacturing, delivering, transferring, transporting, supplying, selling, or
dispensing cannabis or related supplies and educational materials to
qualified patients and their designated caregivers.
e) Registered medical cannabis safety compliance facility and its agents for
possessing and testing cannabis for medical research and compliance
purposes.
SEC. 19. Prescription. A certifying physician shall not be subject to
administrative action by the Philippine Medical Association or by any other
occupational or professional licensing board or bureau for prescribing
cannabis as treatment to qualified patient.

SEC. 20. Paraphernalia. Medical Cannabis and its paraphernalia which is


possessed, owned, or used in connection with the medical use of cannabis
under this Act shall not be seized or confiscated. In patients medical use of
cannabis, the seizure shall not be prevented if it exceeds the amount or
dosage prescribed by the qualified physician.
SEC. 21. Confidentiality. The following information and record kept
based on the Authoritys regulation are confidential and shall not be disclose
to any individual or public or private entity, except as necessary for the
performance of official duties under this Act:
a) Applications and renewals, their contents, and supporting information
submitted by qualified patients and designated caregivers;
b) Applications and renewals, their contents, and supporting information
submitted by or on behalf of MCCCs in compliance with this Act; and
c) The individual names and other information identifying persons to whom
the Authority has issued registry identification cards.
SEC. 22. Registry. The Authority shall maintain a confidential list of
persons to whom the Authority has issued registry identification cards, their
addresses, phone numbers, registry identification numbers. These records
shall be kept and maintained separately from registrant public data which
shall identify cardholders and MCCCs by their registry identification numbers
only and shall not contain names or other personal identifying information.
Hard drives or other data-recording media or storage which contain
cardholder information that are no longer in use must be destroyed.
The data subject of this section shall not be combined or linked in any
manner with any other list or database and it shall not be used for any
purpose not provided under this Act.
SEC. 23. Verification System. Within one hundred twenty (120) days
from the effectivity of this Act, the Authority shall establish a verification
system. The verification system shall allow the employees and agents of the
Authority, Medical Cannabis Compassion Centers (MCCC) and Medical
Cannabis Safety Compliance Facilities (MCSCF) to enter a registry

identification number to determine whether or not the number corresponds


with a current and valid registry identification card. The system shall only
disclose the following:
a) Validity of the identification card;
b) Information whether the cardholder is a registered qualified patient or a
registered caregiver; and
c) The registry identification number of the MCCC designated to serve the
qualified patient who holds the card or the registry identification number of
the patient who is assisted by the caregiver.
The Authority shall, at cardholders request, confirm the persons status as a
registered qualified patient or registered and designated caregiver to the
following third party, such as a landlord, employer, school, medical
professional, PNP personnel, drug enforcement agent or court.
Section 24. Discrimination Prohibited
a) A registered qualifying patient who uses cannabis for medical purposes or
a registered designated caregiver shall be afforded all the same rights under
the law, as the individual would have been afforded if he or she were solely
prescribed pharmaceutical medications, as it pertains to employment,
housing and education.
b) A person otherwise entitled to custody of or visitation or parenting time
with a minor shall not be denied such a right, and there shall be no
presumption of neglect or child endangerment, for conduct allowed under
this chapter, unless the persons actions in relation to cannabis were such
that they created an unreasonable danger to the safety of the minor as
established by clear and convincing evidence.
c) No school, landlord, or employer may be penalized or denied any benefit
under the law for enrolling, leasing to, or employing a cardholder.
SEC. 25. Prohibited Acts. It shall be prohibited for:
a) A qualifying patient to:

1. Possess and smoke cannabis and engage in the medical use of cannabis in
any mode of public transportation or in any public place;
2. Operate, navigate, or being in actual physical control of any motor vehicle,
aircraft, or motorboat while under the influence of cannabis: Provided, That a
registered qualifying patient or visiting qualifying patient shall not be
considered to be under the influence of cannabis solely because of the
presence of metabolites or components of cannabis to cause impairment;
3. Undertake under the influence of cannabis, task that would require the use
of body or motor functions impaired by the use of cannabis; and
4. Use cannabis for purposes other than treatment of a debilitating medical
condition;
b) An authorized physician to prescribe medical cannabis to any person
without establishing a bona fide relationship with the patient and to refer
patients or caregivers to a MCCC on which the physician holds any financial
interest;
c) A registered MCCC to:
1. Acquire, possess, cultivate, manufacture, deliver, transfer, transport,
supply, or dispense cannabis to any person except to registered qualified
patients or through their registered caregivers; and
2. Acquire usable cannabis or mature cannabis plants from unregistered
MCCC.
3. Refer patients to an authorized physician
d) Any person to:
1. Advertise medical cannabis sales in printed materials, on radio or
television, social media, or by paid-in-person solicitation of customers. This
shall not prevent appropriate signs on the property of the registered MCCC,
listings in business directories including phone books, listing in cannabisrelated or medical publications, or the sponsorship of health or charity or
advocacy events; and

2. Violate the confidentiality of information under Section 21 of this Act.


SEC. 26. Penalty. Any person or entity who violates Section 24 of this Act
shall be punished with a fine of one hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00)
and revocation of the license or registration certificates to use, possess or
sell cannabis for medical purposes under this Act.
Any person who violates confidentiality under Section 21 of this Act shall be
punished with a fine of not less than ten thousand pesos (P1000,000.00) but
not more than fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00).
If the offender is a physician the penalty shall include revocation of
professional license.
The suspension or revocation of registration certificate is a final action of the
Authority. The Authority shall constitute a committee that will review
documents and evidence of the case and shall recommend action to be
taken by the Director-General.
SEC. 27. Reports. The Authority shall submit to the President of the
Philippines and Congress an annual report which shall not disclose any
identifying information about cardholders, registered MCCCs, or practitioners,
but shall have at a minimum, all of the following information:
a) Number of applications and renewals filed for registry identification cards;
b) Number of registered qualifying patients at the time of the report;
c) Number of registry identification cards that were issued to visiting
qualifying patients at the time of the report;
d) Nature of the debilitating medical conditions of the qualifying patients;
e) Number of registry identification cards revoked for misconduct;
f) Number of physicians providing written certifications for qualifying
patients; and
g) Number of registered MCCCs.

SEC. 28. Appropriations. The amount necessary for the implementation of


this Act shall be charged to the current appropriations for the Department of
Health. Thereafter, such sum as may be necessary for the continued
implementation of this Act shall be included in the annual General
Appropriations Act.
SEC. 29. Joint Congressional Oversight Committee. There shall be created a
Joint Congressional Oversight Committee for Medical Use of Cannabis to
oversee, monitor and evaluate the implementation of this Act.
The Committee shall be composed of ten (10) members, five (5) shall come
from the Senate and five (5) from the House of Representatives, including
the Chairpersons and the Vice-Chairpersons of the Committee on Health. The
members shall be respectively designated by the Senate President and
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The membership of the committee for every House shall have at least two
(2) opposition or minority members.
SEC. 30. Implementing Rules and Regulations. Within ninety (90) days from
the effectivity of this Act, the Secretary of Health shall, in consultation and
coordination with relevant civil society organizations promulgate rules and
regulations necessary for the effective implementation of this Act.
SEC. 31. Separability Clause. If any provision or part of this Act is declared
invalid or unconstitutional, the remaining parts or provisions not affected
shall remain in full force and effect.
SEC. 32. Repealing Clause. For purposes of this Act, pertinent provisions of
Republic Act No. 9165, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of
2002, as amended, and all other laws, decrees, orders, rules and
regulations, or parts thereof, inconsistent with any provision of this Act are
hereby repealed or modified accordingly.
SEC. 33. Effectivity. This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its
publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation.

1. joseph
in 1974 the Virginia medical institute research on marijuana proven to
reduce/shrink or even eradicate tumors causing cancer on mice. in feb
2000 complutence school of madrid spain conducted research with dr
manuel guzman similar to that of 1974 and the result is exactly the
same that of virginia. in 1976 pres of the US gerard ford closed and
disregard the virginia research and granted exclusive rights to AMA or
american medical assoc. what a conspiracy.
2. joseph
alan watts once said the only serious side effect of marijuana is that
youll get arrested i could say if we consider philippines to be a
freedom country then gave every filipinos the rights to heal
themselves
DOH thumbs down and against the legalization of marijuana for cancer
treatment but they dont have or they cant cure cancer. what a shame
to them. what a shame to them all who are arresting people who uses
cannabis as a medicine when in fact they cant tell the cure and even
depriving the rights of these patients a chance to live. what a shame