Legalize medical marijuana? 'Not in my time' says Duterte

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 8) — The President seems to have done a complete turnaround from his earlier stance on medical marijuana.

"Lahat na lang mag medicinal na. (Everything is made medical now.) Not in my time. Some other president maybe," Duterte said in a speech delivered in Negros Occidental during a campaign rally for the PDP-LABAN party.

The President said that he does not intend to legalize the use of medical marijuana, as it could be used as an excuse to cultivate the plant, which is currently illegal.

"I am ignorant of that kind of research I must admit and I do not read it and I do not intend to legalize it. Ayaw. Gawin mo lang excuse 'yan e. Magtatanim ka ng iyo," he said.

[Translation: No. You'll use it as an excuse. You'll plant your own.]

The President has previously said that he will legalize the use of medical marijuana, having previously joked about using it to keep up with his schedule.

"And I think … my age, ako, hindi masyado, kasi nagma-marijuana ako eh para magising [me, not much because I use marijuana to keep awake]," Duterte said December last year

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, in a press briefing later that month said that Duterte will support the medical marijuana bill.

"He (The President) is in favor of limited use of marijuana. Logically then he will support and sign any bill that would be consistent with his stand," Panelo told reporters.

Former President and current House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had also admitted to using medical marijuana to relieve neck pain.

"I really believe in medical cannabis. As you know I have my problem here (cervical spine) and when I'm in a country that allows it, I put a pain patch but here in the Philippines I cannot do it," Arroyo told reporters in January

A bill legalizing medical marijuana is currently pending at the plenary level at the House of Representatives.

READ: House approves medical marijuana bill on 2nd reading