By Ellson Quismorio
Deputy Speaker and Camarines Sur 2nd district Rep. LRay Villafuerte has underscored the need to pass a bill legalizing the production and international marketing of cannabidiol (CBD) so that Filipinos suffering from certain illnesses could benefit from it.
Villafuerte authored House Bill (HB) No. 3961, which proposes the creation of the Philippine Cannabis Development Authority (PhilCADA).
PhilCADA will see to it that the local production of CBD would eventually make it more affordable for people in need of its treatment, instead of its use being limited to those suffering from epilepsy.
Villafuerte described CBD as the “non-addictive and non-psychoactive component” of the cannabis plant or marijuana. Marijuana is a prohibited substance under Philippine law.
“Far from being an unnecessary measure, the Congress-approved establishment of PhilCADA to regulate the domestic production of CBD would eventually lead to the local, regulated supply of this pain reliever that will become more accessible and affordable for Filipinos afflicted with certain diseases,” he said.
Villafuerte said he was initially opposed to the legalization of CBD, but was later swayed on the need to legalize its local production after finding out how expensive this pain reliever is for ordinary Filipinos medically allowed to avail of this revolutionary treatment.
Moreover, the House leader said HB No.3961 also seeks to promote the international marketing of CBD so the country could cash-in on this nascent multibillion-dollar industry, which—according to the Cowen Research Report in the United States—could turn into a $75-billion industry by the year 2030.
At present, the sale of CBD in the US alone is a $390-million per year business. This number is expected to triple in two years.
By cashing in on this booming global market early, the government could generate more funds for President Duterte’s centerpiece “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure modernization program as well as his other priority programs on human capital formation such as education, healthcare, and social protection.
“All of these facts certainly prove that the congressional approval of HB No. 3961 is timely and integral to President Duterte’s aggressive spending on his high—and inclusive—growth agenda for the Filipino people,” Villafuerte said.