By Leonel Abasola

MEDICAL CANNABIS. Sen. Robinhood Padilla says he wants to make marijuana legal for medicinal purposes during a press conference at the Senate in Pasay City last year. In a Senate hearing on Thursday (July 13, 2023), Padilla said he is eyeing Israel as a model for the Philippines in allowing the use of cannabis strictly for medical purposes, as well as in preventing its misuse or abuse. (PNA photo by Avito Dalan)

MANILA – Sen. Robinhood Padilla on Thursday said he is considering Israel as model for allowing cannabis (marijuana) strictly for medical purposes, as well as in preventing its misuse and abuse, in the Philippines.

Speaking during the hearing of the Senate Health Subcommittee tackling Senate Bill 230 (Medical Cannabis Compassionate Access Act), Padilla said he learned more of the use of medical marijuana when he and his team visited Israel for a study tour last May 1-3.

According to the lawmaker, Israel is known to have the clearest laws and regulations on medical cannabis, as well as having the most comprehensive research on the matter.

On the enforcement of laws, nothing can beat Israel, he said, and what they learned during their study tour will be included in their proposed measure on medical cannabis in the Philippines

He said the Israel Ministry of Health and Israeli Medical Cannabis Agency made their study tour very productive, with the Israel Medical Cannabis Agency governing the regulations and permits in the supply chain.

He also cited the said country’s strict law enforcement procedures in tracking the use of medical cannabis

“Ang ating adhikain ay klaro – na ang cannabis na ating pinag-uusapan ngayon ay bilang isang pang-gamot–medikal. At hindi para sa recreational katulad ng nasa The Netherlands at iba pang bansa (Our objective is clear – that the cannabis we are discussing is for medical purposes, And not for recreational use like in The Netherlands and other countries),” he stressed.

He also reiterated his appeal to the public to keep an open mind on the medical use of cannabis as he maintained that his obligation as a lawmaker is to allow people the freedom to choose their method of therapy that they think is best, and in accordance to the prescription of their doctors. (PNA)