Sotto: Don't legalize marijuana, even for medical purposes

Posted at 08/19/14 7:03 PM

MANILA - Senator Vicente Sotto III urged his colleagues to quash plans to legalize marijuana, even for medical purposes.

In a privilege speech, Sotto said the Philippines should not be a copycat of the US when it comes to laws.

“Dahil ginawa at inumpisahan na sa America, eto naman tayo at di naglaon ay may nagpanukala na ito ay gayahin,” he said, referring to House Bill 4477, entitled “Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act.”

“Kung gagayahin natin itong ginawa ng dalawang estado sa Estados Unidos, eh di gayahin narin natin ang kanilang panukala na huwag na ring magdasal sa mga paaralan. Pati ang prayer dito sa Senado ay itigil narin at ng tayo'y maging katulad nang ibang bansa. Ganun ba ang gusto nating mangyari, Mr. President?”

He said laws should conform to a country’s culture and experiences.

“Try walking with a woman not your wife in one place, or sell drugs in China, or be hopelessly old and sick in some countries in Europe, delikado ang buhay mo. Tanggap natin ito, because crimes are defined by the state we are in at a particular time. Respetuhan lang ng kanya-kanyang batas. If we must progress in our laws, let it be attuned to our own concepts and culture,” he said.

He reminded his colleagues that the Philippines is a signatory to various United Nations conventions classifying marijuana as a dangerous drug.

“Every year, there are numerous petitions asking the U.N. that Marijuana be legalized because of its medical benefits. There is no scientific evidence from controlled studies in humans that it can cure anything except perhaps having a placebo effect. That is why the United Nations has consistently refused to give in to their petitions,” he said.

He added there is also a growing trend among states retracting their marijuana laws.

“However, the trend nowadays is on reverse mode, they are now contemplating a retraction of their legalization measures. They are beset with Marijuana-related problems such as an increase in criminality, drug addiction, and proliferation of undesirable characters in their parks and highways,” he said.