In the fallout of the dramatic triumph that was Miss Philippines Catriona Gray winning the 67th Miss Universe beauty pageant in Thailand just last Monday, December 17, discussion has begun – anew that is – regarding the advocacy that the now-fourth Miss Universe titleholder dropped during the contest’s Question and Answer portion. Asked whether she would support her country legalizing marijuana, the iconic narcotic drug from the cannabis plant, Catriona mentioned that she would support the promotion of marijuana for strictly medical purposes and not for recreational use. This subject has already been discussed in Congress before, but now it has gotten a response from the top.
CNN Philippines reports that President Rodrigo Duterte is amenable to signing any proposed introducing medical marijuana use in the Philippines. This was revealed by Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo during a Malacañang press briefing this Tuesday, December 18. “He (The President) is in favor of limited use of marijuana,” Panelo told reporters when the matter of Catriona Gray’s Q&A response during the Miss Universe pageant only yesterday was brought up. “Logically then he will support and sign any bill that would be consistent with his stand.”
It all came back to focus once again when Catriona, representing the Philippines in Thailand, advanced to the Top 5 contestants of Miss Universe 2018. Her question, asked by now-familiar pageant host Steve Harvey, was her opinion of the Philippines possibly legalizing marijuana after Uruguay and Canada, the latter having done so just this October. “I’m for it being used in a medical use but not so for recreational use,” Catriona responded, elaborating that allowing also for recreation would cause an avalanche of restrictions being lifted on other substances like tobacco and alcohol. “Well everything is good but in moderation,” the Philippine bet pointed out.
Before that question was asked on Monday, the last discussion done in Congress regarding medical marijuana was in September 2017. The House of Representatives put forth House Bill No. 6517 – the Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act – that would allow for limited manufacture of marijuana for medical purposes under a strict regulatory framework laid down by the bill’s principal author, Rep. Rodolfo Albano III of Isabela. The bill would complement the existing R.A. No. 9165 (Dangerous Drugs Act 2002) that enables patients whose symptoms can be alleviated by marijuana (chemotherapy side effects and HIV/AIDS-induced appetite loss) to apply for a “compassionate special permit” for the drug.
Salvador Panelo remarked that Catriona Gray’s support for medical marijuana in the Philippines on Miss Universe may have been influenced by earlier statements made by President Duterte on regulated marijuana use for strictly medical purposes. Until then however, marijuana remains illegal and possession of it can result in life imprisonment.
Images: Philippine Star and GMA News