Sotto: Medical cannabis allowed already, but there’s a process

Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III said on December 18 that there is already a process in the Philippines for patients needing cannabis for medical purposes to have permit.

“It’s allowed already. May proseso lang. So dapat malaman nila. At marami naman nakakaalam e. Ang problema may mga hindi nakakaalam, mga legislator pa naman,” he said.

“Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, Republic Act 9165, Section 2, under the Declaration of Policy, mahaba yung umpisa pero: it is the policy of the state to safeguard the integrity of its territory and the well-being of its citizenry, particularly the youth, from harmful effects of dangerous drugs on their physical, mental, etc., etc. Towards this end the government shall pursue an intensive and unrelenting campaign against the trafficking and use of dangerous drugs and other similar substances through an integrated system of planning, implementation, enforcement of anti-drug abuse policies, programs and projects,” said Sotto.

“Ito na maliwanag: 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. Ang linaw nito,” he added.

He noted that the above provision combined with “FDA compassionate special permit, Circular No. 2014-009.”

“Nakalagay, the FDA law, right now, provides access to drugs and medicines that are not registered in the Philippines for compassionate use. But it is the attending physician’s responsibility to apply for the substance permit from the FDA. Meron din ang Dangerous Drugs Board na policy to that effect. Pwede kang mag apply ng permit,” he said.

“Ito, report ng FDA ito, as of October 2017, wala pa yung bago ngayon e, it has received an average of 50 applications a month for compassionate special permits, mostly for cancer medication. So as of September 30, 583 out of the 585 were granted. 558 out of the 565 in 2016 applications were approved. So it’s really a matter of information campaign. Including marijuana and other dangerous drugs that might be beneficial to you,” the senator said.

“In other words, in the Dangerous Drugs Act, combined with the FDA circular, we have a compassionate use provision, it’s allowed already. So what are they talking about? They just don’t know the law. So in other words, hindi illegal. Ito tanungin ko sa inyo, meron na ba kayo nabalitaan na sa PNP hinuli ang medical marijuana? Wala dahil hindi bawal e. Ano ilelegalize mo e legal?” he said.