Momentum for medical marijuana seems to be building in the Philippines. In many ways, this is surprising given current President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody and highly controversial war on drugs. But in recent weeks, Duterte has hinted at being open to legalizing cannabis for medical purposes. And now, Catriona Gray, the Philippines’ representative in the Miss Universe competition, has also become an outspoken advocate for legalizing medical marijuana in the country.
Catriona Gray Supports Medical Marijuana
Catriona Gray is representing the Philippines in the Miss Universe 2018 competition. Recently, she was asked about her thoughts on marijuana. The question came as part of the pageant’s question and answer portion.
In response to the question, Gray voiced strong support for the legal use of cannabis for medical purposes. However, she came short of endorsing the recreational consumption of marijuana.
“I’m for the use in the medical use but not so for recreational use,” she said during the competition. “Because I think if people were to argue what about alcohol and cigarettes, well, everything is good but in moderation.”
Since voicing her support of medical marijuana, Gray has been making headlines throughout the Philippines.
And in many ways, her comments are very timely. The topic of marijuana legalization—and especially medical marijuana—has been receiving a lot of attention in the Philippines lately.
Medical Marijuana in the Philippines
Currently, cannabis is outlawed in the Philippines. But as reported by Filipino news source ABS-CBN, lawmakers in the country are currently exploring House Bill 6517, also known as the Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act.
This bill would reportedly make it legal for qualified patients in the country to access and consume certain types of medical cannabis.
Additionally, the bill would establish a legal framework in which doctors could recommend weed to patients. Similarly, the program would set up a system for giving patients medical marijuana cards, which would presumably allow them to purchase medication from state-approved sellers.
Currently, there are a large number of lawmakers who have voiced support for the bill. And of course, there are also lawmakers continuing to stand in opposition to it.
Interestingly, some pro-medical marijuana lawmakers see Gray’s recent endorsement as a potentially powerful piece in the movement to pass House Bill 6517.
“We are certain her statement during the pageant will convince Congress to expedite passage of HB 6517 into law,” House Deputy Majority Leader Ron Salo told the media.
Salo was one of the key leaders to vote in favor of the bill when it was clearing the initial committee level.
The question of legalization is a relatively urgent one in the Philippines. Especially since Duterte has waged a long, extremely violent, and highly controversial war on illegal drugs.
To date, as many as 27,000 people have been murdered by Filipino law enforcement as part of Duterte’s bloody crackdown.
Earlier this month, Duterte came under fire when he cracked what spokespeople said was a joke about consuming marijuana.
In the aftermath of the controversial comment, presidential spokespeople have unexpectedly said that Duterte is actually open to the idea of making medical marijuana legal.