Marijuana is still illegal at the Federal level. Meaning that technically speaking users can be thrown in jail for smoking marijuana, and marijuana cannot be sent across borders as this is a violation of Federal law. It also means that there is much regulatory uncertainty, as businesses can be busted by the Federal government for distributing an “illegal” substance. Further, Canadians crossing the border can be, and have been, deported and banned from the USA from admitting to legally smoking marijuana in their own country. The situation is somewhat bizarre and many are hoping that there will be some leniency in coming years and that marijuana will be recognisied first as a legal medical substance and afterwards as a legal recreational substance.
No Hope at Present
But that day has not yet come. Amid rumors that the senate was passing a medical marijuana bill, the Senate majority leader was quick to shoot the rumors down. He recently declared that there was no senate medical marijuana bill. Apparently, the rumors originally arose from newspapers who falsely believed that a medical marijuana bill had cleared the house of representatives. The bill that had passed the health committee of the House of Representatives was in fact a bill for access to medical cannabis in the Philippines. He said the Senate could only commit to study the compassionate use of medical cannabis and that this, if ever, would entail the amendment of the compassionate use provision of Republic Act No. 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.Sotto, a former head of the Dangerous Drugs Board, said he would oppose any medical marijuana proposal in the Senate. In his own words, he stated: “There is no hope for such bill here … It’s dead in the water”
And there is also little hope that the bill passed by the health committee will get any further, and Sotto also stated his opposition. The passing of a bill for medical marijuana could pen to doors to for the legal use of marijuana in the Philippines, which would be in violation of a UN treaty signed by the country.
The bill seeks a comprehensive approach to the country’s drug policy in the wake of President Duterte’s brutal war on drugs in the Philippines. Most war on drugs actually put innocent pot smokers behind bars, namely African Americans. And the obvious way to stop this atrocious war on innocent civilians is by legalization of marijuana. The bill in its current form stipulates that medical marijuana can be applied to those in need upon approval of the Food and Drug administration.
The Current Medical Marijuana Bill
In the USA, there are some few politicians battling to get medical marijuana federally legalized. The senate is phenomenally slow moving when it comes to passing legislation of all kinds. Before recreational marijuana becomes legal, first will come medical marijuana. Thus, even though the majority of the populace are for the legalization of recreational marijuana at the Federal level, it will likely be at least 5 years before it comes to pass. This is not exactly what anybody could call efficient, but this is the legislative and administrative process of the USA as we know it. Last week 6 senators issued the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act (CARERS ACT).
Presently, Federal law trumps State law, as per the constitution. In the event of a legal battle between state and Federal law, where there is any ambiguity, Federal law will prevail. But this bill would actually let State law prevail in the narrow region of marijuana in the event of a conflict. This would allow the laws legalizing medical marijuana in 29 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam to supersede the current federal prohibition on weed. It is a diverse ideological approach taken by the 6 senators, and has a snowballs chance in hell of being allowed to proceed. Because it actually transfers powers away from the slow moving Federal government towards individual states, and more towards the liberty of individual people. Politicians are not known to give up their powers so easily, nor is any person or organization.
The bill further allows doctors at veteran affairs hospitals to prescribe pot to their patients, and allows hospitals, universities and private entities to study the effects of marijuana without the stringent regulatory procedures that are presently in the way. The bill is united progressive strands of both the left and the right and it would be wonderful if it managed to pass, and something of a miracle. If it does pass it is the first step, with recreational marijuana soon to follow.
The bill would also allow patients to access CBD extracts even in states where marijuana is illegal. CBD is the non-psychoactive compound found in marijuana known to treat seizure related illness and other conditions. Just last month the New-England Journal of Medicine released a study showing a reduction of seizures and overall improvement in the health of 62 percent of the children they studied while giving them CBD. Supporters say that the work is groundbreaking. The appeal of the bill is that it grants medical access to those who are suffering, and is bound to strike a chord. People are being urged to get on board and show their support on social media given how important this bill is. Who knows, with enough support at a grass roots level the Snowball bill might just withstand the heat of the Senate.