‘Legalizing use of marijuana is saving, extending life’

PUSHING for the legalization of the use of medical cannabis or marijuana intensifies with an expert saying this will save or extend the life of the patients.

Dr. John Ortiz Teope, a researcher, critic, political
analyst, media practitioner, and the secretary general of TIMPUYOG Philippines, said that legalizing the use of medical cannabis has various positive implications. He spelled out TIMPUYOG as an Ilocano word for organization, unity, or movement.

TIMPUYOG in reference to the use of cannabis, was defined as T for timely, I for internationally accepted, M for medical use and not for recreation, P for pedagogy or concept of education, U for uplifting the economy, Y for yielding to the decriminalization of the use of cannabis, O for organization to monitor or supervise the use of cannabis and G for giving way to healing of every Filipino who needs treatment for various ailments.

Teope said that their group was established to serve as a “think tank and give suggestions” on the aspect of legalizing the use of medical cannabis which has a rough sailing in Congress even when 60 countries have already approved the use of the medical plant, and counting.

Teope was a special guest in Bauertek Corporation’s weekly Media Health Forum held recently in Quezon City, hosted by veteran radio broadcasters Rolando “Lakay” Gonzalo and Edwin Eusebio.

Dr. Richard Nixon Gomez, scientist, inventor and general manager of Bauertek Corporation disclosed that only one patient was given a compassionate special permit by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to buy medical cannabis from overseas but to this day, hasn’t bought yet due to the whopping price of P1.7 million for one patient alone.

Gomez said he had been to Sacramento, California some two weeks ago to tour the facility that produces medicine out of marijuana extract. California was the first state to legalize the use of medical cannabis.

He said that the processes were simple but there were those levels they are not capable of doing but Bauertek can do, like cloning and tissue culture, which the US facility has to outsource. Other processes include isolation, and extraction—all of which Bauertek can likewise do.

Gomez said that many illnesses are covered for treatment by medical cannabis like anxiety, sleep disorder, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, and others.

Teope further explained that enactment of a law legalizing the use of medical marijuana would mean revenues and taxes for the government while generating jobs or employment for the people.

He also disclosed that there is a proposal from Cong. Luis Raymund Villafuerte of Camarines Sur, for the establishment of the Philippine
Cannabis Development Authority (PHILCADA) as the sole authority in the management of medical cannabis.

The doctor admitted that many Filipinos are “miseducated” regarding the use of medical marijuana, which they say, makes the user an “addict” or “high.” He said there should be education for
people on bad and good drugs. Gomez, on the other hand, proposed the inclusion of other agencies like the Dept. of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Dept. of Agriculture (DA) in PHILCADA.

Meanwhile, the proposed Cannabis Council includes FDA, Dept. of Health or DOH and law enforcement agencies like the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), Philippine National Police (PNP).

Teope lamented that with the composition of the proposed Council, it is assumed that there will be many violators once the use of cannabis is approved. Gomez and Teope both believed that those who opposed the legalization of medical cannabis either “lack education or miseducated.” (PR)