MANILA - Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray's support for the use of medical marijuana could spur its legalization, a lawmaker said Monday.
Gray was asked about her opinion on the legalization of the substance during the pageant's question and answer portion, to which she replied that she backs its "medical use but not so for recreational use."
House Bill 6517 or the Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, which seeks to legalize medical marijuana for medicinal purposes, is pending before the House of Representatives.
"We are certain her (Gray's) statement during the pageant will convince Congress to expedite passage of HB 6517 into law," said House Deputy Majority Leader Ron Salo, who was among those who voted for the measure's approval at the committee level.
The proposed law will "provide compassion and better quality of life" to patients suffering from debilitating medical conditions like seizures and multiple sclerosis," he said.
The measure prescribes the rules for the use of medical marijuana including the designation of a qualified physician and caregiver, and the issuance of an identification card to patients.
While President Rodrigo Duterte is against synthetic drugs, he said he was open to the use of medical cannabis. Earlier this month, he stirred controversy by saying that he sometimes takes the substance to stay awake.
Some doctors, however, have opposed medical cannabis, saying its efficacy has yet to be confirmed.
The use of medical marijuana is legal in California and some other parts of the US, Canada, and Poland, among others.