Rep. Alvarez: Decriminalize marijuana use for medical, recreational purposes

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 12) — A lawmaker on Wednesday said the use of cannabis, or marijuana, should be decriminalized so it can be used by anyone for medical or recreational purposes.

“Marijuana, in the first place, is not a drug, leaves lang po iyon (those are only leaves),” Davao Del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez told CNN Philippines’ The Source.

House Bill 6783 is pushing to remove marijuana and any of its form or derivative from the list of dangerous drugs and substances. 

It is currently listed as a banned substance under Republic Act No. 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Alvarez pointed out that even before Spaniards came, Filipinos already planted marijuana and used it to treat different kinds of illnesses.

If its use is legalized, farmers will be allowed to produce marijuana, and Filipino researchers will be able to study the drug further, the lawmaker said.

Marijuana, which has long been banned, should also not be blamed if a person gets into using harmful substances, he said.

He noted that more people use other illegal drugs like shabu or methamphetamine hydrochloride, cocaine, and ecstasy than marijuana, Alvarez noted.

Aside from Alvarez’ bill, lawmakers are also pushing for the use of cannabis as medical treatment.