A Senate bill intended to provide a comprehensive public health approach to the country’s drug-related policy is also seeking to legalize the use of marijuana upon the approval of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Under the proposal of Senator Risa Hontiveros, “the delivery, possession, transfer, transportation, or use of cannabis and other dangerous drugs intended for medical use or to treat or alleviate a patient’s medical condition or symptoms associated with his or her debilitating disease...shall be allowed upon application to and approval of the Food and Drug Administration.”
Also allowed is the “acquisition, administration, cultivation, or manufacturing for medical experiments, research, or for creation of new types of medicines” with the approval of FDA. “The patient, caregiver, physician or medical researcher who delivers, transports, uses, acquires, administers, cultivates, or manufactures dangerous drugs for medical purposes shall be exempt from criminal liability,” the bill added.
The said provision is under Article IV of Hontiveros’ proposal, which ensures the protection of rights of drug users amid the Duterte government’s war against illegal drugs. Under the bill, a person found positive for use of drugs, after a confirmatory test, shall not be apprehended nor subjected to surveillance, and instead be referred to a public health officer to be assessed.
The proposal is part of the Community-Based Health Intervention Program for drug users. “There is a need for a new and sustainable strategy that is humane, rehabilitative and less susceptible to abuse. We cannot kill our way out of this problem,” Hontiveros said.