PDEA backs medical marijuana bill, sets conditions

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 1) — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said it is supporting the medical marijuana  bill, under certain conditions.

"(PDEA) recognizes the need of patients to have access to safe, affordable, available medical cannabis," PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said in a statement Saturday.

The agency said cannabis is usually "prescribed by registered physicians in cases where cannabis has been found to be effective in the prevention, treatment and management of chronic or debilitating health conditions."

Cannabis, also known as Indian Hemp or marijuana, is currently prohibited under the law.

In other countries, cannabis is prescribed to aid patients suffering from epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease.

The Lower House is seeking to change that with House Bill No. 180 or the "Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act." The House Committee on Health passed it on first reading on September 25.

READ: House panel approves medical marijuana bill

Aquino, however, warned "control measures and regulations" should be in place.

Aquino said the bill should be specific, and only legalize the use of medical cannabis in tablet or capsule form.

The physician prescribing the drug should also show proof that she or he has a relationship with the patient.

He also recommended for the bill to include a clause saying: "The cultivation, possession, use, sale, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of cannabis not in accordance with the provisions of the Act" will be deemed a violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

The bill's author, Isabela First District Rep. Rodolfo Albano, on September 25 said the proposed law is not for recreational purposes.

"Marijuana is still considered as a dangerous drug and all the laws pertaining to the use of marijuana and the planting of marijuana is not decriminalized," Albano said.