Legalize marijuana? Palace says it's up to Congress

By Alexis Romero, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 04 2014 02:34 AM | Updated as of Jan 05 2014 06:50 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Marijuana will remain illegal in the Philippines unless Congress amends the law, Malacanang said yesterday.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said under the Dangerous Drugs Act, marijuana is prohibited.

“It will remain as such until Congress amends it,” she said.

In a press conference, Valte was asked to react to the legalization of marijuana in the US state of Colorado. The law took effect on Jan. 1, allowing the sale of marijuana for recreational purposes to state residents aged 21 or older.

Asked whether the Palace would support measures legalizing marijuana, Valte said: “We will answer you when the time comes, but as of the moment, the executive implements the law as it is.”

According to the US National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana can cause problems with memory, learning and behavior. When smoked, it can cause coughing and breathing problems, it said.

“Some people get addicted to marijuana after using it for a while. It is more likely to happen if they use marijuana every day,” the NHIA reported.

However, in the US, some states have approved “medical marijuana” to ease symptoms of various health problems. An active ingredient in marijuana is said to relieve nausea caused by cancer chemotherapy and stimulate appetite in severe weight loss caused by AIDS.

Scientists are now doing more research on marijuana and its ingredients.