MEDICAL MARIJUANA. Buhay Partylist Representative Lito Atienza Jr. (holding microphone) says medical marijuana use will "definitely" lead to recreational use after the bill legalizing the narcotic plant becomes a law. Beside him during a press conference in Cebu on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, is Human Life International country director Dr. Rene Josef Bullecer. (Photo by Luel Galarpe)
CEBU CITY – Buhay Partlylist Representative Lito Atienza Jr. on Thursday said passing the Medical Marijuana Bill is one of the “biggest errors” Congress has made.
“It is ridiculous to allow the use of marijuana even for medical purposes,” he said in a press conference here.
He said if the bill becomes a law, this will only lead to the recreational use of marijuana in the country.
“Under the new law, pwede nang magtanim ng marijuana (cultivation of marijuana is allowed). I believe it’s big business who are pushing for this. They are just sugar-coating it by calling it medical, but obviously this is business,” Atienza said.
“Marijuana destroys a person’s mindset. It is destructive and bad. We should not allow the entry of bad elements to our country,” he added.
Agricultural expansion of marijuana is inevitable if the bill is signed into law, he said, since farmers will be lured into cultivating marijuana which is more lucrative.
“If farmers will plant marijuana instead of rice, are we assured that marijuana will only go to those who need it? And who will guarantee that cultivators will not sell it to the general public?” Atienza asked.
He said he finds it ironic for the police to have control over a legalized substance when they are even having a hard time controlling the proliferation of shabu which is illegal.
He said there is also no conclusive study about the medical use of the narcotic hemp.
Human Life International country director Dr. Rene Josef Bullecer, who accompanied Atienza in the press conference, said the more than 30,000 members of the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) are also against the bill.
“One reason that we in the PMA are against it because there is no conclusive or thorough study that marijuana can really cure a disease,” Bullecer said.
Marijuana can be used as a palliative treatment for pain and physical and mental stress, but it’s not curative, Bullecer added.
“Yes, it eases the pain, but at the expense of destroying your brain,” said Atienza, who added that groups of psychiatrists and psychologists in the country are also opposed to the bill.
He said the medical use of marijuana will “definitely” shift to recreational use just like what happened in Europe, the United States, and Canada.
Atienza, however, said he is confident that Senator Vicente Sotto III will block the passage of the bill when it reaches the Senate.