(Eagle News) – The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved on third and final reading House Bill 6517 which seeks to legalize the use of medical marijuana.
With 163 “yes” votes, only five “no” votes, and three abstentions, HB 6517 entitled the Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, was approved at the Lower House and will now be handed to the Senate.
The House Bill seeks to provide “compassionate and right of access to medical cannabis and expanding research into its medicinal properties.”
House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had earlier expressed support for the bill. She even admitted before to have used medical marijuana patches to ease the pain from her cervical spine.
“I am an author of that (medical marijuana bill). I really believe in medical cannabis. As you know, I have my problem here and when I’m in a country that allows it, I put a pain patch, but here in the Philippines I cannot do it,” she said earlier this month after the medical marijuana bill passed second reading.
Malacanang earlier said that President Rodrigo Duterte is supportive of the medical marijuana bill.
While the bill has already hurdled the Lower House, it will face scrutiny in the Senate which must pass their own version of the bill so that the two chambers can hold a bicameral conference committee. This is for the eventual ratification of the bill.
Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III had earlier said there was no need to pass a bill on the use of medical cannabis, saying its use is already allowed under Republic Act 9165 subject to the permit of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The issue of medical marijuana was also recently put back on the spotlight after the newly crowned Miss Universe Catriona Gray answered during the Miss Universe pageant that she was in favor of legalizing marijuana only for “medical use but not so for recreational use.”