The Philippines, a country where Medical Cannabis is strictly prohibited and where the punishment for Cannabis is more severe than being caught with hard drugs such as crystal meth, heroin, cocaine and the likes.
Several groups in the Philippines such as Porml, 420 Philippines, Internation Women’s Cannabis Coalition – Philippines (IWCC) just to name a few, are pushing for legalization of Medical cannabis to be granted to legitimate patients who suffer from debilitating disease such as epilepsy, cancer, multiple sclerosis, tumors, etc. The most active group is the Philippines Cannabis Compassion Society (PCCS) who leads the movement and is active in lobbying to pass the bill in Congress. PCCS work side by side with the author of the bill, Congressman Rodolfo Albano. PCCS also shares the stories of their patients to open the minds and hearts of the Congressmen to co-author the bill. The bill has 104 co-authors as of this writing and the bill needs to have at least 200 signatures to be endorsed by the Senate.
Some of the patients who have the financial capability to migrate to other countries or import Medical Cannabis from other countries where it is legal have significantly improved their health and some have been cured totally. However, the patients who are less fortunate are left to suffer and eventually die due to the fact that they cannot afford the cost of importation and/or migration to another country.
This migration not only happens in the Philippines, same scenarios happen in the United States of America (USA), as families move to a different state where Medical Cannabis is legal and to be able to use it to their patients, however, they are not allowed to bring it to a different state, forcing families to leave their family, friends and work behind.
As per the data released by Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society in 2016, Philippines topped 197 countries with the most number of cases of breast cancer. It is also one of the countries worldwide with the highest prevalence rates of cancer.
183,000 people are affected by Epilepsy in the Philippines based on the data of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2004 and the numbers just continue to keep on rising.
These data only proves that not only a few will benefit from Medical Cannabis but millions of Filipinos. It can improve the lives of millions suffering every single day and it can provide them a livable life. Once the bill has been enacted into a law everyone who is qualified to avail Medical Cannabis can do so with the guidance of the Department of Health (DOH), Philippines Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), and Dangerous Drug Board (DDB).
Write : By Anne Kristina Aguila