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Cannabis has been illegal in the Philippines since 1972 by virtue of Republic Act No.6425 or the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972.
RA6425 classified marijuana as a prohibited drug, and detailed out punishments for the importation, sale, manufacture, cultivation, possession, and use of the drug, as well as possession of any drug-related paraphernalia.
RA6425 also created the Dangerous Drugs Board, giving it jurisdiction over drug-related cases. In 2002, the Comphrehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 was signed, repealing RA6425.
RA9165 also enabled the creation of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, which handles the implementation and enforcement of policies and strategies made by the Dangerous Drugs Board.
Under what the current law, the importation, sale, maintenance of a den, manufacture, use, and cultivation of marijuana and marijuana-related products shall be met with life imprisonment and a fine ranging from 500,000 to 10 million pesos.In 2015, the Dangerous Drugs Board estimated, based on admission data in drug rehabilitation centers, that around 25% of center clients use marijuana.
Arrests for marijuana have been steady in recent years. In 2016, the PDEA eradicated a total of 337 marijuana sites.In the first seven months of 2015, PDEA reported conducting 22 successful cannabis eradication operations, resulting in the destruction of 117 growing sites and the seizure of cannabis valued at approximately 3.5 million USD.That same year PDEA eradicated a total of 286 marijuana sites. In 2014, the PDEA reported that 8.9% of all drug seizures they made that year involved marijuana and that they eradicated a total of 506 growing sites, the largest in recent years.A pro-medical marijuana NGO called the Philippine Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (PORMAL) seeks to challenge the law in order to legalize its use, however there is opposition from both the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and senators like Vicente Sotto III. The PDEA claims that marijuana is a gateway drug that can lead to the abuse of harder substances. Senator Sotto has asked PORMAL to submit empirical evidence on the benefits of marijuana use.While the law recognizes the medical uses of marijuana On May 26, 2014, Isabela representative Rodolfo Albano III introduced House Bill No. 4477, known as the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act to the 16th Congress of the Philippines, which would legalize the use of medical marijuana.This bill was filed in the Philippine Congress to legalize the use of medical marijuana in 2014.
President Rodrigo Duterte stated during his campaign that he was supportive of medical marijuana. Duterte stated: "Medical marijuana, yes, because it is an ingredient of modern medicine now. There are medicines now being developed or already in the market that contains marijuana as a component but used for medical purposes."
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