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by Diana on 17/07/2014 | Uncategorized

Habemus Cannabis: The Catholic Church in the Philippines supports legalisation

For this reason, and despite the fact that the debate surrounding the legislation is still in progress, proponents say that the goal is to "...legalize and regulate the medical use of cannabis which has been confirmed to have beneficial and therapeutic uses to treat chronic or debilitating disease or medical conditions." All in all, both the use and possession of cannabis are currently illegal in the Philippines and legislation to regulate the medicinal use of marijuana will only apply to certain treatments. All other uses of the plant will remain punishable by law. However, there are other factors at play, such as on the one hand the support of the Church and on the other approval by important political figures such as the Secretary of Health Enrique Ona himself, who is also a proponent of the new bill.


Last year, it was impossible to separate cannabis from intense discussions, shocking news reports and new legislation carrying a precedent. The plant was the subject of endless debates and discussions on approval, at both regulatory as well as social levels. Loved by many, despised by others – it is a plant about which everyone has an opinion. And just when we thought that there would be no more pleasant surprises, none other than the Catholic Church made several unbelievable statements that just blew us away, even the most faithful among us.

A miracle has occurred in the Philippines. As legislation intended to legalise the medicinal use of marijuana was being debated, the Catholic Church offered its open support.

The reasons behind the Church’s support

As the Church itself states, it supports the medicinal use of cannabis because it stands to help many people. The reasoning of the Church is focused on the more merciful aspects of the plant and it is not for nothing that the proposed bill is entitled “Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act”. It was submitted in May of this year by Member of Parliament,  Rodolfo Albano III.

Member of Parliament, Rodolfo Albano III.
Member of Parliament, Rodolfo Albano III.

The most amazing aspect of this is perhaps how clearly and vocally representatives of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines have spoken. In a press release, archbishop and chairman of the conference Sócrates Villegas expressed himself as follows: “Catholic health care ethics, in fact, considers as morally justifiable the use of marijuana for terminal cancer patients in severe pain.”

For this reason, and despite the fact that the debate surrounding the legislation is still in progress, proponents say that the goal is to “…legalize and regulate the medical use of cannabis which has been confirmed to have beneficial and therapeutic uses to treat chronic or debilitating disease or medical conditions.”

Legal context of cannabis in the Philippines

All in all, both the use and possession of cannabis are currently illegal in the Philippines and legislation to regulate the medicinal use of marijuana will only apply to certain treatments. All other uses of the plant will remain punishable by law.

However, there are other factors at play, such as on the one hand the support of the Church and on the other approval by important political figures such as the Secretary of Health Enrique Ona himself, who is also a proponent of the new bill.

bandera filipinasAt any rate, it is the case that there exists a certain amount of distrust, even in those who support legalisation. Archbishop Villegas argues that common sense must be used and urges the parties in office to ensure that citizens are protected from the consequences that may arise from easy access to marijuana. The clergyman has also stated that the Church must “…express concern about the surreptitious introduction of dangerous and addicting substances and making them legally readily available to those prone to addiction. The effects cannot be anything but harmful, especially for the youth and children.”

And for this reason, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has insisted that cannabis only be made legal for certain patients. For its part, the Department of Health seems to have made provisions to incorporate this sentiment and has, before panic could erupt, resolved to create an entity to regulate cannabis and monitor its use as a medicine.

Using a system that broadly resembles that of Uruguay, this entity shall issue proofs of registration to patients to whom cannabis may be distributed as a medical treatment. Moreover, centres shall be established to support the medicinal use of cannabis and to monitor the safety of medicinal cannabis. These centres are intended to be placed at more than 300 metres away from schools and universities.

The opposition asserts that only drug dealers will benefit from legalisation

As is the case everywhere that the use of cannabis is legalised, opponents waste no time in piping up. A significant part of the political landscape is vehemently opposed to the bill submitted by Albano. They feel that it constitutes a ‘national disaster’ and claim that it will only give rise to problems.

According to Senator Vicente Sotto, “the proposal to legalize marijuana is misleading. It is camouflaged under the term ‘medical marijuana’. And to further empower his standpoint, Sotto spoke metaphorically, saying that “[…]you don’t declare a nuclear bomb legal just because a small component of the bomb can be used to light up your house.”

While the politician concedes that legalising marijuana could be therapeutic to the sick, he states that it would be drug dealers who will profit most from the legislation. “This is a big business for drug traffickers and if we legalize marijuana this will become a bigger business for them,” he added.

Cannabis is the most used drug in the Philippines

According to the Consejo de Drogas Peligrosas (Committee for Dangerous Drugs), cannabis is one of the most used illegal drugs in the Philippines. In recent years, cannabis has held second place, trailing just behind methamphetamine, which in the Philippines is commonly called Shabú.

Legally, marijuana is viewed as an extremely concerning theme; the possession or use thereof may result in a life sentence in prison.weed

For this reason, the recent support of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines is an enormous step forward. The entire country is very religious, as can be seen by the fact that, not too long ago, the introduction of legislation surrounding reproductive health care, which would – among other things – provide general access to birth control, was blocked. The law was shot down, even though the Philippines is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. There, the power of the Church is more or less unassailable.

This is why the green light given by the Church is so stunning. It not only works to soothe the consciences of politicians and citizens alike, it also paves the way toward a general legalisation of cannabis in the Philippines.

Without a doubt, this is an impressive step forward. We at Sensi Seeds will continue to closely follow the news in this area and will let you know whether the smoke is white, or black.

Comment Section

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Ryx deona

The mere fact that marijuana is still illegal despite the support of the catholic church whilenthe RH Bill was blocked despite the obvious benefits shows just how corrupted our government is, like it or not, the illegality of marijuana is very profitable for the government, more specifically the police, what with the number of marijuana users and the money they get from arrests, no wonder it takes so long to legalize it. That and the fact that when marijuana is legalized, a lot of commercial pills will be rendered obsolete, leaving pharmacies bankrupt, realizing this the companies then bribe the senators to oppose the law to the best of their ability. I propose a solution to this however: an honest debate relying on nothing but facts, to be nationally broadcasted for all the Filipino people to hear, to raise the wool from their eyes and undeniably prove once and for all, that cannabis is indeed more beneficial than harmful.

29/09/2014

no way

Marijuana destoryed/destroying my brother's life and he justifies it as "medical marijuana". He is a nothing now... living and breathing just to sustain his vice..

22/10/2014

pedro

tangina mo tito sotto. hypocrito kang hinayupak kang tanga ka! hanggang pang TVJ lang kasi ang alam mo bobo!

18/11/2014

Kenneth

Why don't you open your minds !
Did someone go nuts by smoking weed? No one!
that's why they should legalize it !!
More medication MORE FUN in the PHILIPPINES ! :D

04/12/2014

jephthah

why don't legalized marijuana in some period of time and study the cause and effect of this drug, if harmful to our society, if its not then why we should fight for legalizing it and improved the many facts that senator tito sotto talking about, we all know senator sotto taking the facts that he didn't know like for example he plagiarize what he talking in Rh bill debate in senate, shame on him!!!!

16/12/2014

420

Why is Marijuana against the law? It grows NATURALLY upon our planet. Doesn't the idea of making nature against the law seem to you a bit unnatural?

16/12/2014

skywalker

Sotto just dont know how to think.. Legalizing weed will hurt the drug dealers because every legal product is taxed.. They wont be earning as much because legal distributors will come to the picture.. I doubt if people would go for the riskier option..

20/01/2015

skywalker

I think we are forgetting our purpose here on earth but let me remind you that we are here because God entrusted his creations to us so why are others eager to vanish the plant. That is a bit cruel dont you think? For a plant that gives us countless benefits..

20/01/2015

skywalker

@NoWay you know what dont blame the weed its your brothers choices in life to blame.. Weed does not dictate man what to do in life.. Weed has the tendency.to be abused cause everything can be abused its up to the persons own thinking if he is going to..

20/01/2015

cory

I am here from the US and although I live in a state (within the US) where marijuana is illegal, I use it daily for help with my diabetes and my severe anger problems. For this plant to be considered an illegal drug is in itself criminal. It is a herb put here by our creator and has health benefits second to no other plant. For any one doubting this the should order the book. Marijuana The Gateway To Health and study the facts and not the bullshit put out by Government propagandist. If people worldwide could be shown why this plant was made illegal in the first place minds would quickly change as they would see it was for nothing more than to protect the money interest of the lumber and cotton industries of the United States. Although I have not smoked marijuana since coming to this beautiful place (Phillipines), I have had zero withdrawal symptoms. Can this be said about any of the prescription drugs being pushed by the pharmaceutical industry worldwide? Wake up people!! You are being lied to constantly to protect the money interests of the world. This is a easily provable fact. Proving marijuana has ever hurt anyone physically is what is impossible! Study the facts yourselves and quit believing the lies!

27/01/2015

tree bender

It is quite apparent that the use of MJ in the Philippines at present, is merely for recreational purpose rather than medical. And it was only recently, that Filipinos started talking about it. Well, most of MJ users who are predominantly using it for fun, would love the idea of having it legalize. But aside from them, there are also scores of people who's love ones are lying sick in vain because the Government is depriving them from healing thru this commonly misunderstood product of nature. In my humble understanding, those people who are using it ignorantly is synonymous with our current Government officials such us "Sotto" who does not understand about it's healing effects. I myself was cured from insomnia and depression thru this wonder herb "illegaly" of course. HOW IRONIC

21/02/2015

Archie Hinkle

The use of cannabis is a life extending no if ands butts about it and should be legal everywhere it is not a drug but a herb!

28/08/2015

juan dedios

hello let me introduce myself first and formoat I'm a Canadian Filipino who grew up in Canada my life was good until09 when I suffered a huge stroke wich I wasd told should have killed mebut I survived and spend most of my yime sittingsown without proper circulation I find CONSTANTIRITATION SPECIALLT AT THE TIPS OF MY FINGERS AND FEET A A CAUSE OF LACK OF MOVEMENT CANADA WILL BE LEGALISING THE PLANT FOR CHRONIC PAIN LIKE ME WE SHPILD FOLLOW THIS MOVEMENT MPTTH AMERICA IS CHANGING ITS POLICY AND ATTITUDE TOWARDS THIS LETS MOVE FORWARD ON THIS TOO MY UNCLE WHO WAS BED RIDDEN FOR 6 YEARSWOULD HAVE SUFFERED LESS HE PASSED AWAY3 MONTHS AGO IF HE WAS UNDER THECre ofcanabis use it might have eased the rest of suffering for the time he had left thnk you for understanding from TRUE ANSD FIRM BELIVER OF THE MEDICAL BENEFITS OF CANABID USE THANK YOU JUAN DE DIOS this to be

18/12/2016

TIYOY SIQUIJOR LOCALS

marijuana is not a drug it is a herb.its a organic and natural gift of GOD..alcohol and cigarette is dangerous than marijuana..and then why should legal..
GOVERNMENT SAYS:GOVERNMENT WARNING CIGARETTE SMOKING IS DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH,,and then???why should legal, and marijuana is illegal,,???that is my big question why government still legal the cigarette and alcohol..WE ALL KNOW THAT CIGARETTE CAN CAUSE CANCER AND MARIJUANA IS CAN TREAT CANCER,,TRY TO IMAGINE THERES A LOT DIED OF CIGARETTE AND ALCOHOL ZERO in MARIJUANA..
GIVE WEED A CHANCE..
THANK YOU!!!!

22/03/2017

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