Updated on January 22, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Although the Philippines have not yet passed legislation legalizing medical marijuana for qualified patients, there is a house bill that lays the groundwork for a medical marijuana program.
In September 2017, the Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, or House Bill 180, was approved by the Committee on Health in the House of Representatives. The bill lays out what the program will look like, including qualifications for patients and certifying physicians.
Only patients diagnosed with qualifying conditions will be allowed to apply for identification cards in the Philippines’ medical marijuana program. Although the country’s Department of Health is reserving the right to add additional conditions, so far, they have included:
Unless under the supervision of a parent or legal guardian, patients must be 18 years or older. They must also receive a diagnosis of one of the above conditions from a physician with whom they have a bona fide relationship.
Until the country’s Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act passes, patients will have to wait to receive medical marijuana treatments. However, the bill does indicate how patients will go about joining the program.
First, as stated earlier, they must receive a diagnosis for one of the qualifying conditions from a doctor they have a long-standing relationship with. This doctor must:
Once a patient has their diagnosis, they can apply to The Republic of the Philippines Department of Health. This government agency will be responsible for heading up the program. If their application is approved, they will receive an identification card issued by the DOH secretary.
Patients will not be allowed to grow or cultivate their own medical marijuana. Once the law goes into effect, the Department of Health will distribute licenses to two types of entities:
As of now, there is no legal protection afforded to patients who are found in possession of marijuana. The penalties laid out by the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 apply to all scenarios and carry with them severe penalties, including hefty fines and years of prison time.
Once the Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act goes into effect, patients and caregivers who follow the guidelines and dosages will be exempt from all criminal and civil liability. This also applies to MCCCs that sell marijuana, MCSCFs that possess it and physicians who recommend cannabis treatments.
Things are moving rapidly in the Philippines. As HB 180 goes through deliberation in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, many amendments could be imposed. Be sure to get the most up-to-date information by checking in with us regularly at MarijuanaDoctors.com.
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