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Brownies Are Helping to End Marijuana Prohibition in the Philippines

By: Buz Deliere | February 28, 2023

1st district Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez (middle, in blue) enjoys brownies with his fellow advocates on the decriminalization of marijuana at the House of Representatives on Feb.23, 2023.
Photo Credit: Manila Bulletin

On Monday, Feb. 27 Davao del Norte 1st district Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez spearheaded an assembly in the House of Representatives to discuss decriminalizing marijuana among its advocates. This highly anticipated meeting was held with the goal of advancing legislation around cannabis use and reform on a much larger scale for members of Congress throughout the country.

At the recent meeting with the former House Speaker, an eclectic group of people gathered for discussions - doctors, lawyers, senior citizens, and artists. To keep up their energy between talks they enjoyed freshly-baked brownies and not the kind you're thinking, from one of the nation's renowned pastry store chains.

Alvarez is pushing forward with a bold initiative that could revolutionize the way marijuana is treated in the Philippines. The proposed HB No.6783 aims to remove cannabis and its derivatives from RA No. 9165 of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, potentially opening up new possibilities for medical research, recreational tourism, and the opportunity to generate additional income for the country.

Several countries, like Germany, are pushing for recreational adult use cannabis laws after seeing other markets bring in billions of dollars to their economy. Thailand is already capitalizing on the benefits of decriminalization as more and more shops pop up throughout the country and tourists come to experience cannabis in a new country without fear of imprisonment.

Other countries like Amsterdam are going in the opposite direction and pushing for cannabis to be banned for tourists. Unruly and belligerent tourists have forced the local citizens and government to respond by enforcing strict laws in hopes to prevent further incidents of tourists just being outright rude and disrespectful. It's a fine line to balance as the Philippines begin its journey to end cannabis prohibition and develop the appropriate regulations.

At a meeting convened last week, esteemed members of the Philippine healthcare and political fields gathered to meet with Alvarez to discuss potential medical cannabis legislation. Among those present were Drs Donnabel Trias-Cunanan (President at Cannahopefuls Inc.), Peter Flores-Quilala (Philippine Society for Cannabinoid Medicine), Joan Mae Perez-Rifareal (Philippine Psychiatric Association); lawyer Henrie Enaje from MedCann Party List; Maria Guadalyn Reyes, Chairperson Sensible Philippines Inc.; Ma Louella Manansala co convenor Seniors For MedCan PH., Chuck Manansala President Masikhay Research; Lea Fullon Program Director Haraya Policy Center; Roy Soria 420 Philippines; Joven Glipa Hemp Movement, Jj Villanueva Canna Phalla Phillippines.

These diverse members were all there for one common goal to advocate for cannabis decriminalization. With one strong voice, The united stance marks a watershed moment in advocating for a more responsible and informed perception of this plant's derivatives. Things continue to look positive for cannabis reform in the Philippines as lawmakers and advocates continue to push forward in hopes that prohibition ends with them.


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