Cordillera regional council backs medical marijuana legalization

Cordillera’s top governing body, the Regional Development Council (RDC), is throwing its support behind the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes.
“No problem if it will be utilized for medical treatment,” RDC Chairman and Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan said at the council’s 4th quarter meeting on December 19.
Cordillera is known to host abundant high-grade marijuana, with the weed growing naturally in the highland’s mountains.
The RDC’s action came after newly-crowned Miss Universe Catriona Gray of the Philippines said she is in favor of the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes during the pageant’s question and answer portion.
“Personally, in the medical aspect, we can use marijuana extract to address terminal diseases like cancer,” Domogan said, hastening to add the dangers that must be looked into.
“The main problem here is the plantation. It should be strictly government-controlled. Otherwise, it will be subject to abuse,” he, however, pointed out. “If we will allow private individuals to cultivate marijuana, then that will be a big problem. For example, if rice is no longer profitable, then they might replace it with marijuana.”
Dr. Amelita Pangilinan, officer in charge of the Department of Health office in Cordillera, said during the meeting that the Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care (PITAHC) did a number of studies presenting the benefits of alternative medicines like marijuana.
The physician, however, clarified that it is the extract from the leaves, not the leaf itself, should be consumed by patients for medical purposes.
“Of course, we need to develop a technology that will help us to extract ‘hashish’ from the leaves,” Pangilinan told members of the RDC composed of regional directors of the different line agencies, the private sector representatives, and local chief executives of the six provinces and two cities of Cordillera.
Pangilinan said that before, some people cultivated marijuana in their backyards for personal medical needs, specifically, to ease chronic pain.
The physician, however, cautioned that if the bill in Congress seeking to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes is approved, it must be accompanied by policies based on operational research, which is evidence-based.
“I had a patient, who had cancer whose pain cannot be relieved by morphine. Someone gave her marijuana to ease the pain and it did help the patient,” another medical doctor member of the RDC, Dr. Julie Cabato, related during the meeting.
Cabato said this made her support the legalization of medical marijuana provided it will be regulated and will not be used for recreation.

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