The Lower House health committee approved the bill otherwise known as the “Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act” which was authored by Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III.
The bill seeks to establish a formal system in the country for the strict and proper utilization of cannabis to address debilitating diseases in qualified patients. The introduction of the bill reads: “This Act should not be deemed in any manner to advocate, authorize, promote, or legally or socially accept the use of cannabis or marijuana for any non-medical use. For this reason, it provides for control measures and regulation on the medical use of cannabis to ensure patient’s safety and for effective and efficient implementation of this Act.”
Under this proposal, the Department of Health along with the Food and Drug Administration will be the lead government agencies to lay down and oversee the initial regulations and other vital aspects that need to be addressed after its launch.
President Rodrigo Duterte has previously stated that he was in favor for the medical use of cannabis.
Below are some key facts if the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act becomes a law:
1) It’s going to be strictly for medical use.
Section 2: “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 diseases 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.”
2) Some of the conditions where the medical use of cannabis can be prescribed according to Section 3 are the following:
-Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
3) The supply of medical cannabis will be mainly limited to designated centers by the government. Section 3(d):
“Medical Cannabis Compassionate Center refers to any entity registered with the Department of Health and licensed to acquire, possess, cultivate, manufacture, deliver, transfer, transport, sell, supply and dispense cannabis, devices or related supplies and educational materials to registered qualified patients.”
4) Not everyone who practices medicine will be allowed to prescribe cannabis for medical purposes. Qualified medical cannabis physician based on Section 6 must have the following qualifications:
-a doctor’s degree in medicine
-a bona fide relationship with the patient
-license to prescribe drugs
-professional knowledge of the use of medical cannabis
5) There will be a formal ID system to profile qualified patients, as well as their corresponding caregivers.
Section 8: “The Secretary shall issue registered identification (ID) cards to qualified patients after a careful review of the documents required by the Department and included in the implementing rules and regulations of this Act.”
6) The following will be exempt from civil and criminal liability for the prescribed use, handling and distribution of medical cannabis under Section 18:
a) Qualified patient
b) Registered and designated cannabis caregiver
c) Certifying physician for prescribing medical cannabis
d) Registered and licensed medical cannabis compassionate center and its agents
e) Registered medical cannabis safety compliance facility and its agents