Robinhood Bill on Medical Cannabis

PRESS RELEASE!

Robinhood bill on medical cannabis, welcome but worrisome – Advocates

The Medical Cannabis Party (MedCann Party) welcomes the medical cannabis bill filed by Senator Robinhood Padilla, but seeks discussion over the bill’s penal provisions.

“The bill is historic as it is the first ever bill filed in the Senate with regards to the use of cannabis for medical purposes,” said human rights lawyer and drug policy reformer Atty. Henrie Enaje.

“We are happy and optimistic that this bill would spark long-overdue and meaningful conversations on the topic, although there are portions of the bill, particularly in the penal provisions, that are quite worrying for patients and advocates,” added Atty. Enaje.

According to Atty. Enaje, instead of creating an enabling environment to advance scientific knowledge of the benefits of medical cannabis, penal provisions of the law could scare health professionals and patients alike in accessing cannabis.

“Instead easing the access of qualified patients, and for medical professionals to conduct local research, the proposed penal provisions of the bill will practically make cannabis more inaccessible because they could be subjected to charges under R.A. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, and the new law, once passed,” said Enaje.

“Doctors, and even patients could face up to 24 years of imprisonment and up to P10 million in fines under the bill. It definitely creates a scary scenario,” he added.

Enaje also pointed out the “short list” of qualified illnesses which excludes several patients particularly those experiencing mental health disorders such as depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and post-traumatic stress disorde (PTSD).

“Research has already shown that medical cannabis helps in managing mental health issues, but these are absent in the current list of qualified patients.

“While we understand the concerns of Senator Robinhood, crafting a bill on cannabis use should be guided by the principles of harm reduction, not persecution and prosecution,” said the human rights lawyer.

The group plans to gather tomorrow, in time for Pres. Ferdinand Marcos Jr’s first state of the nation address, at the Liwasang Diokno, Commission on Human Rights office in Quezon City to air their calls for drug policy reforms.

“Ultimately, we want a bill to usher in a new era of drug policy that is human rights-based and people-centered.

“We hope that the good senator would be open to speak with all stakeholders, experts, parents and patients, and advocates to help the Senate in finalizing a law that would truly address all the issues surrounding cannabis and drug policy. We would be more than happy to be able to discuss this with Senator Robinhood anytime,” Atty. Enaje concluded.

Credits to: Medical Cannabis Party

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