No, marijuana is not legal in the Philippines. Cannabis is treated similarly to other drugs in the Philippines, which traditionally has some of the strictest drug laws in the world. Former Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte implemented a zero-tolerance stance towards marijuana use in the nation.
A medical marijuana program in the Philippines, however, is hoped to be enabled by new law. A compassionate dispensary system and legal procedures for patients to obtain cannabis for medical use would be established by the Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, which would also legalize marijuana usage for debilitating diseases.
Philippine Medical Marijuana Laws
Although the Philippines still takes a strict stand on cannabis usage for recreational purposes, availability to cannabis for medical purposes has recently started to slowly improve. Even notorious for his harsh anti-drug measures, former president Rodrigo Duterte acknowledged in 2016 that cannabis could be utilized for specific medicinal illnesses.
In 2019, a few years later, the Philippine government submitted a measure known as the “Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act.” The House bill would make it legal for patients with a legitimate doctor’s prescription to consume cannabis for medical purposes. Since 2019, the legislation has been approved by the House of Representatives, rejected by the Senate, and reintroduced as another act with suggestions to create a national cannabis regulating agency.
If adopted, the law will create a patient register to document who is qualified to use cannabis medicine and a network of centers for medical cannabis compassionate use to distribute goods. Before Filipinos can use a completely authorized medical system, medical marijuana still has a long way to go.
The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of the Philippines, however, oddly allows for the medical use of cannabis. According to the law, People with legitimate medical needs are not prevented from being treated with adequate amounts of appropriate medications, including the use of dangerous drugs. The Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act would further safeguard patients’ rights and create a thriving market for patient use and access.
For some Filipino patients, the use of CBD-based drugs has already been approved. Hemp seed oil and CBD oil are two examples of cannabis products that are forbidden. However, both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Dangerous Drugs Bureau (DDB) in the Philippines have approved Epidiolex for usage as a therapeutic alternative for persons with severe epilepsy.
What You Should Know About Philippine Medical Cannabis
Marijuana is illegal to possess or use for either medical or recreational purposes in the Philippines. Even if you have a medical marijuana card, it is advised that you leave your cannabis (including CBD) at home if you are planning a trip to the area.
Cannabis Has Serious Penalties
The usage and possession of marijuana are both prohibited by national legislation in the Philippines. If a cannabis user is found in possession of 500 grams of cannabis flower or more of an extracted product, the government may:
- Life imprisonment
- Up to 10 million pesos in fines
- potential execution
Less than 5 grams of extracted concentrate or 200 grams of cannabis are considered to be in possession, which results in a sentence reduction to 12 to 20 years in prison and fines up to 400,000 pesos. So, even for possession of little amounts of cannabis, the punishment is still severe but less severe than the death penalty.
Cannabis production is prohibited in the Philippines, as you may have guessed, and those found doing so face punishments quite similar to those mentioned above. Those found cultivating marijuana face a fine ranging from 500.000 to 10,000,000 pesos, life in jail, or even the possibility of the death penalty.
Industrial Hemp in the Philippines
Hemp cultivation is prohibited in the Philippines. However, if the legislation providing legalized medical marijuana is implemented, that may alter in the future.
The growing of any kind of cannabis plant, regardless of THC content, is currently not prohibited under Philippine legislation. The Philippines may still explore legalizing industrial hemp, especially in light of the evident need for an economic boost in the nation and the prospective demand for CBD oils and other medical cannabis therapies.
The Philippines is not the most welcoming country for people looking to use cannabis for recreational or medical purposes due to its zero-tolerance drug policy and harsh penalties for violators. Until the Philippines’ unenacted medical marijuana regulations are passed, stay away from cannabis while on Philippine soil.