Pot farming: Sotto says legalizing marijuana will spur more backyard cultivation
Senate majority leader Vicente Sotto III is concerned that a proposal to legalize the medical use of marijuana or cannabis would spur more Filipinos to raise it in their own backyards.
“Once we give them the chance for medical marijuana to be legalized, I’m sure, with the penchant of the Filipino, they would be planting it in their own backyards,” Sotto said in an interview.
“Why do you want the medical marijuana legalized in the entire Philippines if you’re the only person who will benefit from it. You’re the only person who’s sick. You’re already allowed to use it without being reprimanded,” he added.
Sotto said he had always been against proposals to legalize the medical use of cannabis because there were other ways to allow it even without passing a law.
Sotto also noted that no senator has so far filed a bill legalizing medical marijuana.
Last month, the House of Representatives Committee on Health approved a bill that allows the use of marijuana for patients. The bill was authored by Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano.
Sotto said he has already spoken to Albano and explained to him that a Senate version was not “possible.”
“My view on this, before and until now, we have already deliberated about this. I was invited by Rep. Albano in AIM when there was a seminar-workshop there and I feel very confident that after I explained to them the Philippine situation, I was able to convince majority of them that it’s not possible,” Sotto said.
The majority leader claimed there was “no empirical data” to prove that marijuana can cure anything. However, studies show that marijuana can help ease and treat chronic pain and other diseases.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), for its part, said that it will not object to the use of marijuana for medical purposes as long as safeguards under the law are followed. (PNA)