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Medical marijuana bill reaches Senate plenary

MANILA, Philippines — The bill seeking to legalize medical marijuana in the Philippines has reached the Senate plenary, the first time in the history of the upper chamber, according to a cannabis lawyer.

Cannabis advocates found a champion in Sen. Robinhood Padilla, who sponsored his measure on the floor last Wednesday.

“This is the farthest so far that a bill seeking to legalize medical marijuana has reached in the Senate. And widely supported, too,” Henrie Enaje, lawyer and founder of CannaLegalPH, told The STAR yesterday.

Enaje was referring to the support garnered by the Senate medical marjiuana report jointly prepared by the committees on health and demography, public order and dangerous drugs and finance.

The report was signed by Padilla, Senators Bong Go (health committee chairman), Ronald dela Rosa (public order committee chairman), Sonny Angara (finance committee chairman), JV Ejercito, Jinggoy Estrada, Mark Villar, Lito Lapid, Raffy Tulfo, Ramon Revilla Jr., Aquilino Pimentel III, Joel Villanueva and Grace Poe.

Many of the senators, however, signed “with reservations” and with the intention of interpellating the measure on the floor.

In his sponsorship speech delivered last Wednesday, Padilla defended the medical qualities of cannabis, like alleviating the symptoms of epilepsy and easing the pain of cancer patients.

He recalled his visit to Israel to learn about the country’s best practices on researching cannabis and using it as treatment.