No medical marijuana legalization under Duterte’s term: Palace

By Azer Parrocha

March 12, 2019, 7:12 pm

MANILA -- President Rodrigo R. Duterte does not see the legalization of medical marijuana happening within his term since he does not want to risk the spread of addiction in the country, Malacañang said on Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo confirmed the President is no longer in favor of the legalization of marijuana even for medicinal purposes citing the risk that people could develop a dependence on the drug.

“I asked him…absolute? Yes. He doesn’t like kasi ang feeling niya you will be using that as an excuse baka lumaki ng lumaki lang (He doesn’t like to legalize it because he feels that people will be using it as an excuse to expand its use),” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.

“Kaya not during my time sabi niya. Sa ibang panahon siguro (That’s why he said, ‘not during my term. Perhaps some other time’),” he added.

Panelo further said the lack of definitive findings on the effectiveness of medical marijuana could be a reason for the President’s reluctance to allow its legalization.

Ang sabi niya pa, dapat yung mga medical muna ang mag-decide kung totoong nakakagamot ‘yan. Kasi sa ngayon, hindi definitive ang findings -- may nagsasabing puwede, may nagsasabing hindi (The President said medical experts should first decide if it can really treat some conditions. Because now, the findings are not definitive -- some say it can, some say it can’t),” Panelo said.

“He doesn’t want to risk the spread of addiction in this country,” he added.

The Spokesperson, however, said that Duterte may still change his mind if definitive findings confirm its advantages.

Kung definitive yung findings (If findings become definitive) he might change his mind,”” Panelo said.

Earlier, Panelo said Duterte’s changed his mind about the legalization of medical marijuana noting that the chief executive may want more safeguards before its use is allowed in the country.

Panelo said that the President himself admitted that he knew little about the use of medical marijuana with respect to specific cases.

Duterte bared he is no longer in favor of the legalization of medical marijuana during a PDP-Laban campaign rally in Negros Occidental on March 8.

The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 has listed marijuana as a prohibited substance. (PNA)