By Anthony Martinelli

A key legislative committee in the Philippines has given approval to legislation that would legalize medical cannabis throughout the country.

The House Health Committee approved House Bill 180 on Monday, known as the Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act. The bill, which now moves towards a vote by the full House of Representatives, would legalize and regulate the possession, use and distribution of cannabis for medical purposes, for those who receive a recommendation from a licensed physician.

Under the proposed law, sponsored by Representative Rodolfo Albano (Isabela), Medical Cannabis Compassionate Centers, licensed by the Department of Health, would be established in certain hospitals, including state-accredited hospitals, private tertiary hospitals and specialty hospitals. They would be authorized to sell cannabis and cannabis products to qualified patients or their designated caregiver. The measure states that only a pharmacist with an S3 license issued by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency can actually sell and dispense the medicine.

House Bill 180 would also create the Medical Cannabis Research and Safety Compliance Facilities, where medical cannabis research can be legally conducted.

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