Albano slams Atienza for medical cannabis tirade

Published January 13, 2019, 5:30 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Ellson Quismorio

Isabela 1st district Rep. Rodito Albano on Sunday called as “unparliamentarian” the remark of BUHAY Party-List Rep. Lito Atienza, who claimed that congressmen supporting the medical cannabis bill are just out to earn a pretty penny with the marijuana trade once it is legalized.

(L-R) Rep. Rodito Albano and Rep. Lito Atienza (MANILA BULLETIN)

“Do not impute ill motives on the authors of the bill, the only intention of which is to privide relief to terminally ill patients who are in pain,” Albano said.

The district representative is the principal author of House Bill (HB) No.6517 or the proposed Act Providing Compassionate and Right Of Access To Medical Cannabis.

Referring to Atienza, Albano said: “He sees ghosts where there are none.”

That same day, Atienza, a Senior Deputy Minority Leader, said some lawmakers want to legalize medical marijuana because they themselves are eager to go into the business of cultivating the illegal drug and running dispensaries.

“There are politicians who want to profit from legalized medical marijuana. This is clearly all about money – lots of money,” he said.

A number of pro-legalization members of Congress have actually gone on “field trips” to Canada and America to look into the operations of medical marijuana dispensaries there, according to Atienza.

Albano countered by asking his colleague to mention names. “Could it be that he is the one with the ill motive?” he said of Atienza.

The Isabela solon insisted that there was nothing wrong with the medical marijuana bill, which is currently under the period of amendments.

House Speaker and former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is among the numerous co-authors of the measure, which has blurred party-lines and political alliances in the 292-strong chamber.

Atienza, for his part, maintained that marijuana was “poison” and that “no amount of sugar-coating will make the illegal drug less toxic.”

At present, marijuana is tagged as a prohibited substance, just like methamphetamine hydrochloride or “shabu,” cocaine, and heroin, under Republic Act (RA) No.9165 or the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Under the law, mere possession of at least 500 grams of marijuana, or at least 10 grams of marijuana concentrate (resin or resin oil), is punishable by life in prison plus a fine of up to P10 million.

Carrying fewer quantities of the drug is punishable by 12 to 20 years in prison plus a fine of up to P500,000.