MANILA - Cannabis or marijuana remains a "dangerous drug" under Philippine law, government said Thursday after the United Nations removed it from the category of narcotic drugs to allow easier medical research.
Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) chairman Catalino Cuy earlier said the country only recognizes medical marijuana, and its recreational use was still illegal.
Under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, marijuana "cultivation, possession, use, sale, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation" remain punishable, the DDB and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said in a joint statement.
PDEA and other uniformed personnel will continue to enforce the law, they added.
"It remains regulated because it is highly addictive and posses negative health, social, and legal consequences," the statement read.
"Through this clarification, the DDB and PDEA hope that the reclassification of cannabis by the UN-CND will not send a wrong message to the public, especially the youth that it is safe and legal for recreational use."
The state agencies said cannabis remains under Schedule I of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which limits exclusively to medical and scientific purposes the production, manufacture, export, import, distribution, and possession of such substance.
Its removal under Schedule IV of the Convention means that the UN "acknowledges that cannabis may have potential therapeutic or medicinal value," the agencies said.