Cannabis has a long history of use in the Philippines, and the plant was traditionally used for medicinal and religious purposes. However, in 1972, then-President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law and instituted a strict anti-drug policy, which included harsh penalties for drug offenses, including cannabis use and possession.
Since then, the Philippines has had a zero-tolerance policy towards drugs, and this includes cannabis. In recent years, the government has taken a tough stance on drug use, with former President Rodrigo Duterte launching a massive crackdown on drug users and dealers.
Is weed legal in the Philippines?
No, cannabis is not legal for recreational use in the Philippines. The penalties for violating cannabis laws in the Philippines are severe. Possession of any amount of cannabis can result in imprisonment of up to 20 years, while selling or trafficking cannabis can result in life imprisonment and even the death penalty.
Despite the harsh penalties, cannabis use remains prevalent in the Philippines. A 2019 report from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) revealed that cannabis was the second most commonly used drug in the country, with methamphetamine being the most commonly used drug.
Medical cannabis in the Philippines
In 2019, the Philippines passed the Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, which allows for the use of cannabis-based medicines for certain qualifying medical conditions. However, the implementation of the law has been slow, and patients and advocates have criticized the government for the lack of progress in making medical cannabis available to those who need it.
Under the law, patients with qualifying medical conditions, such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and chronic pain, can access cannabis-based medicines under strict regulations. However, the law does not allow for the cultivation of cannabis in the country, and all medical cannabis products must be imported.
CBD in the Philippines
While CBD is not specifically prohibited by Philippine law, it is still considered a controlled substance and is subject to strict regulations. CBD products can only be sold in the Philippines if they have been registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The sale of unregistered CBD products is illegal and can result in penalties.
Cultivation of cannabis in the Philippines
The cultivation of cannabis is strictly prohibited in the Philippines, and possession of any part of the cannabis plant can result in imprisonment. The only exception is for the cultivation of industrial hemp, which is legal under certain conditions.
In 2018, the Philippine government passed the Philippine Hemp Act, which allows for the cultivation of industrial hemp for commercial and research purposes. However, the law does not allow for the cultivation of cannabis for recreational or medical use.
Possible future of cannabis legalization in the Philippines
There are currently no indications that the Philippines will legalize cannabis for recreational use in the near future. Former President Duterte, who served until 2022, was a vocal opponent of drug use, and his government has pursued a hardline approach to drug policy.
While the Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act is a step towards medical cannabis legalization, progress has been slow, and patients and advocates continue to push for improvements to the program.
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