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The legalization of Marijuana in the Philippines

1

MAPÚ A INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

School of L anguages, Humanities and Social Sciences 1st Term SY 2013-2014

In partial fulfillment of the

Requirements in Current Issues

SS15

The legalization of Marijuana in the Philippines

Prepared by:

Cabula, Alyssa

Chavez, Aleia V.

Martinez, Martin

Santos, Angelica

Prepared for:

Professor Geoffrey Cruz

© September 2013

The legalization of Marijuana in the Philippines

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Acknowledgments

This research would not have been possible without the guidance and help of several individuals who contributed and extended their support in the completion of this study. The researchers would like to extend their utmost gratitude to the following:

Their families and friends who showed assistance and support;

Mr. Geoffrey Cruz for inspiring and guiding the researchers throughout the study; And last but not the least, to God Almighty for giving strength during the stressful

days and for making everything possible.

A. C.

A. V. C.

M. M.

A. M. S.

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Abstract

Cannabis Sativa, widely known as Marijuana, is a famous drug that was first discovered to cure and not to destroy. Marijuana is not new in our country and as it was proposed to be legalized many citizens greatly oppose this law.

This research aimed to identify the possible effects of the legalization of Marijuana in the Philippines. This paper examined the reasons behind the illegalization of Marijuana and the reasons behind the proposed legalization of the aforementioned drug here in the Philippines.

The conclusion of this paper is that the researchers think that the provision should be studied further and to think of the situation and condition of the citizens.

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Marijuana is a product of the hemp plant, Cannabis Sativa. It contains a chemical known as THC or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol which affects the central nervous system. It has been used as a medicine. It is often smoked but can also be chewed, prepared as tea or eaten in baked goods.

Marijuana has been used since 2737 B.C. Its popularity as a medical herb spread throughout China, India, Africa, Europe and America. The first evidence of medical use of marijuana was during the rule of Emperor ShenNeng in China. He used it to treat malaria, gout, rheumatism, poor memory, and female disorders. Chinese herbalist also used hemp mixed with raisin, and wine as pain reliever during surgery (Grinspoon, 2006). The Indians used marijuana to cure venereal disease and headaches, induce sleep, stimulate appetite, improve digestion, relieve stress, and lower fever. Indians also used marijuana for religious purposes (Unknown, 2010). In Africa, It is used to treat snakebites (Grinspoon, 2006). Some physicians in Europe also utilized marijuana’s medical use. One of the most notable was Robert Burton. He used marijuana to treat depression The New English Dispensatory proposed that applying hemp root on inflamed skin cures it. William Brooke O'Shaughnessy, a western physician, used it to cure rabies, rheumatism, epilepsy, and tetanus. Soon, doctors and physicians in Europe and the United States prescribed it to cure variety of physical conditions. Queen Victoria even used cannabis by her physician. Doctor RR M’Meens used cannabis to cure tetanus, neuralgia, dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), convulsions, the pain of rheumatism and childbirth, asthma, postpartum psychosis, gonorrhea, and chronic bronchitis. H.A. Hare used cannabis to cure anxiety and distract the patient’s mind in terminal illness. In 1890, J.R. Reynolds recommended it to patients with senile insomnia.

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In the Philippines the statistics of Marijuana use according to the GSHS (2010) 6.7% of the total young students surveyed has ever used drugs; marijuana was the most commonly used illicit substance (6.3%) followed by sedatives and tranquilizers (5.2%), inhalants (4.0%), methamphetamine (3.7%) and ecstasy (2.6%).

In the Philippines, there are two laws that encompass the use of Marijuana in the Philippines. First is, RA 9165 also known as Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 prohibits the use of Marijuana as stated in Art. 1 Sec 3 (v) Cannabis or commonly known as "Marijuana" or "Indian Hemp" or by its any other name. – Embraces every kind, class, genus, or specie of the plant Cannabis sativa L. including, but not limited to, Cannabis americana, hashish, bhang, guaza, churrus and ganjab, and embraces every kind, class and character of marijuana, whether dried or fresh and flowering, flowering or fruiting tops, or any part or portion of the plant and seeds thereof, and all its geographic varieties, whether as a reefer, resin, extract, tincture or in any form whatsoever. On the other hand, RA 8423, otherwise known as the Traditional and Alternative Medicine Act (TAMA) of 1997, indirectly can support the use of Marijuana as it states, that the government shall plan and carry out research and development activities in the areas of traditional and alternative health care and its ultimate integration into the national health care delivery system including Herbal medicines, defined as finished, labelled, medicinal products that contain as active ingredient/s serial or underground part/s of plant or other materials or combination thereof, whether in the crude state or as plant preparations.Plant material includes juices, gums, fatty oils, essential oils, and other substances of this nature. Herbal medicines, however, may contain excipients in addition to the active

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ingredient(s) to improve the quality and delivery of health care services to the Filipino people through the development of traditional and alternative health care and its integration into the national health care delivery system.

With the reactions and criticisms of the people regarding the possible legalization of Marijuana, the research directed towards determining the problems and effects of legalization of Marijuana in the Philippines.

Specifically, the research study aimed to answer the following questions:

1.What is the reason behind the illegalization of Marijuana?

2.What are the positive and negative effects of marijuana?

3.What are the contradictions and corroboration of RA 9165 and RA 8423?

4.What should be scope of the legalization of marijuana?

The researchers hope that this research will be of utmost significance in giving information and providing awareness to the people of the Philippines about the use of Marijuana and the laws that encompasses it.

Regarding the topic at hand, the researchers believe that the government should think of ways in regulating the Marijuana use because if not, it may endanger the people in the Philippines.

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Over the past few decades, marijuana has been the commonly used illegal drug in the United States and up till now, growing rapidly all over the world. A study published last January 2012 in a British medical journal has finally revealed an analysis of global trends in illegal drugs and their effect on public health. It was found that Australia and neighboring New Zealand topped the lists worldwide for utilization of marijuana. However, there are nearly 17 million Americans age 12 and older reporting past‐month use, and 374,000 people entering an emergency room per annum with a crucial marijuana predicament (SAMHSA, 2010). Below is the latest statistics regarding marijuana use among the youth:

 

 

 

 

 

Drug

Time

8th-

10th-

12th-

 

Period

Graders

Graders

Graders

 

 

 

 

 

Marijuana/Hashish

Lifetime

15.2

33.8

45.2

 

Past

11.4

28

36.4

 

Year

 

 

 

 

Past

6.5

17

22.9

 

Month

 

 

 

 

Daily

1.1

3.5

6.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2012 Monitoring the Future (MTF) Study: for 8th-Graders, 10th-Graders, and 12th-Graders (in percent)*

Professor Wayne Hall of the University of Queensland claimed in an Australian radio interview that the results were not startling as the manifested trend has been in place for more than a decade (Siegel, 2012). Recently, there has been an

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escalatingnumber of populace that paves the way for the legalization of the said drug. In

the United States, American population who used to see marijuana as immoral has

dropped off from 50 percent to 32 percent in just seven years. Additionally, even some

surveys have claimed that marijuana use is way more harmless than alcohol abuse to both

individuals and the whole society. Numerous unmanageable misperceptions have

proliferated currency in the arraigned debate over legalization. Tackling and expounding

these false postulations should be taken into account as it is very critical provided with

the best evidence available. Hence, this has led to a cautious inspection of the facts which

may conclude about the dangers of marijuana use and the likely costs of legalization.

Economic Benefits of Marijuana Legalization

Marijuana has been in the content of derogatory public opinion in quite a few

years. Having been so controversial, it even has been a starting place of humor in some

comedy clubs. One that would prove this instance is the ever witty claims of Ahmed

Ahmed.

“I dated a girl for six months. She broke up with me over smoking pot. She said, “I don’t date people who do drugs; so you have to make your mind. It is me or the pot. Which one is it?” Well, that is not brain surgery! Let’s stop fighting sweetie and you tell me where you hide the … Doritos. Thank you! (crunch … crunch … crunch). I will miss you!”

“Listen, I am not advocating it; I am not promoting it. Marijuana is a plant. It grows from the ground. Our good Lord put it here. We didn’t put the … here. She wasn’t hearing me though. So, I sat her down one night for three hours and explained to her the story of Moses and the burning bush. She didn’t know the … story. They said God spoke to Moses through a burning bush. Helloooooo! That is what it says in the book. I believe the bush was burning. Perhaps, it was burning because Moses was smoking it! They say he came down the mountain with a glazed look on his face! No wonder he was lost in the desert for forty years! I can’t even go to the store high without getting lost!”

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According to the study of Miron (2005), more than 500 economists which are led by Nobel laureates Milton Friedman, George Akerlof, and Vernon Smith, supported marijuana legalization. They claimed that like alcohol and tobacco, marijuana legalization produces considerable tax revenues and make significant public investments for the federal government and state and local governments (Moffatt). To put it briefly, a decisive aspect of marijuana legalization is its effect on the demand and supply. Legalization would remove the risk on the prohibition of marijuana production and consumption. Having it decriminalized, the supply is going to boost as more growers would switch to the crop. The government, on the other hand, can manage the supply increase by entailing a sizable production tax, which would increase the growers’ cost. As marijuana becomes easily available and more people feel like trying it, the demand is going to skyrocket in an instant. Nonetheless, the long-term effect of legalization on the demand is hard to predict as consumer taste may progressively shift away from marijuana just like several people today withdraw from alcohol and tobacco use.

Moreover, Miron have argued as well that prohibition of marijuana would mean a requirement for direct enforcement costs. Legalizing it, however, would decline in the area of law enforcement, including police protection, judicial and legal systems, and corrections. He had estimated that legalizing marijuana saves $7.7 billion per year in government expenditure.

Like the prohibition of alcohol and tobacco use ended way back 1930’s; parents, schools, governments, and the media must still inform the youth about the health effects of smoking the pot. Thus, education is the best medium yet to control the demand.

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Therapeutic Benefits

As it was stressed in some associated articles, medical cannabis may be efficient for the treatment of pain, nausea, anorexia, and other conditions, although the literature on this subject is incompetent, prescribed amount is not well reliable, and cannabis side effects may not be tolerated (2010). In a recent study of Rahn and Hohhman (2009), the utmost efficiency of cannabinoids is deemed to make evident when executed for the management of neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain is a form of severe and often chronic pain resulting from nerve injury, disease, or toxicity. While there are pharmacologic treatments that subsist, there is a considerable population of patients who do not, still, receive a sufficient amount of relief from their pain through these remedies.

This calls for prompting of supplementary scientific study regarding the therapeutic benefits of marijuana. This has been has also supported by other recognized clinical benefits of cannabis which have been discussed in the literature. One would be the support of controlled studies be performed for analgesia, appetite stimulation and cachexia; nausea and vomiting following chemotherapy; neurological and movement disorders; and glaucoma held in a Consensus Conference sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and a review panel convened by the Institute of Medicine (1999).

Ifugao Governor Eugene Balitang is pushing for the legalization of marijuana in the province to be used for medicinal purposes (Sibayan, 2012). According to Balitang(2012) the legalization should have limits and this can be a substitute for morphine for cancer patients, especially ‘’yunghindinatalaga kaya ng pain relievers. Marijuana, if regulated, can ease the pain” However, the Philippine Drug Enforcement

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Agency (PDEA) rejected the governor’s proposal saying that Marijuana is a dangerous drug (2012). Inclining to RA 9165, also known as Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, prohibits the use and its illicit traffic, including cultivation and use (lawphil, 2002). This however was answered by Philippine Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (PORMAL) stating that the state also has a law on equal footing that can support the legalization of Marijuana - RA 8423, otherwise known as the Traditional and Alternative Medicine Act (TAMA) of 1997. This act declared the policy of the State to improve the quality and delivery of health care services to the Filipino people through the development of traditional and alternative health care and its integration into the national health care delivery system. Furthermore, is to encourage scientific research on and develop traditional and alternative health care systems that have direct impact on public health care; to promote and advocate the use of traditional, alternative, preventive and curative health care modalities that have been proven safe, effective, cost effective and consistent with government standards on medical practice. With this, PORMAL claims that Marijuana should be legal with its medical benefits. About PDEA’s statement about Marijuana being a dangerous drug, PORMAL countered with annualword statistics of the mortality rate of Dangerous drugs users; Cigarettes/Tobacco – 5,000,000; Alcohol – 2,000,000; Conventional Medicine Mistakes (US) – 750,000; Prescription Drugs (US) – 200,000; MARIJUANA – 0. According to PORMAL (2010), the only reason marijuana was made illegal was because it would have rivaled oil as the material used in the production of synthetics. Marijuana is not illegal due to it being dangerous -- because it is not, Marijuana is illegal because billionaires want to stay billionaires. That's the bottom line (PORMAL, 2010).

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People here in our country need to know more about cannabis. They were blinded from the very beginning about the real facts about marijuana. I think it is the time that we make some changes about the law and let us be more open about the positive effects of the plant (Change.org, 2013).

Conclusion

The researchers think that if the legalization of Marijuana in the Philippines is amended, these are the commonly suggested precautions to be taken; Weed Control, the government should regulate the use of Marijuana in the country including the population allowed to use it; the limited consumption allowed in a certain amount of time; the place where people is allowed to use it and the place where people can buy it legally (accompanied by appropriate taxes).

References:

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Elliot, S. 2010 Global, Legislation

Grinspoon, L. (2005). History of Cannabis as a medicine.

Marijuana(2013).Retreived September 21, 2013, from http://www.drugfree.org/drug- guide/marijuana

Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base, 1999. Last Accessed March 9, 2011: <http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=6376>.

Marijuana history.(n.d.). Retrieved September 21, 2013, from http://patients4medicalmarijuana.wordpress.com/marijuana-info/marijuana-history/

Marijuana: History of Marijuana use. (2012). Retrieved September 21, 2013, from http://www.infoplease.com/encyclopedia/science/marijuana-history-marijuana-use.html

Marijuana: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, and Warnings. (2013). Retrieved September 21, 2013, from http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-947- MARIJUANA.aspx?activeIngredientId=947&activeIngredientName=MARIJUANA

Medical Marijuana.The Medical Letter® On Drugs and Therapeutics. January 25, 2010;52(1330).

Miron, J., “The Budgetary Implication of Marijuana Prohibition,” (2005) Retrieved from, http://www.prohibitioncosts.org/mironreport.html

Moffatt, M., (n.d.).“Time to Legalize Marijuana?– 500+ Economists Endorse Marijuana Legalization,” About.com, http://economics.about.com/od/incometaxestaxcuts/a/legalize_pot.htm

Padua, R. 2010: Philstar

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) vs. REPUBLIC ACT NO.8423 (TAMA). (2011, September 14). Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/notes/pormal/philippine-drug-enforcement-agency-pdea-vs- republic-act-no-8423-tama/10150326578257941

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Rahn EJ, Hohmann AG. Cannabinoids as pharmacotherapies for neuropathic pain: from the bench to the bedside.Neurotherapeutics. Oct 2009;6(4):713-737.

SAMHSA, 2009. National Survey on Drug Use and Health (September 2010). Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), SAMHSA, 2010. Found at https://dawninfo.samhsa.gov/

Siegel, M. (2012 January 6). Marijuana Use Most Rampant in Australia, Study Finds.The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/07/world/asia/marijuana-use-most-rampant-in- australia-study-finds.html?_r=0

Workshop on the Medical Use of Marijuana. Paper presented at: Report to the Director, National Institutes of Health, by the Ad Hoc Group of Experts, 1997; Bethesda, MD. <http://www.nih.gov/news/medmarijuana/MedicalMarijuana.htm>Archived offline; for retrieval, please send a detailed request to olib@od.nih.gov. Last Accessed March 9, 2011.