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House revives talks to decriminalize cannabis use in the Philippines

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Former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who used profanity to describe the classification of cannabis as a dangerous drug, argues that its legalization would generate revenues for the government

A House panel for the first time in the 19th Congress under the Marcos administration took up a bill seeking to decriminalize the production, sale, and use of cannabis in the Philippines.

The lower chamber’s dangerous drugs committee chaired by Robert Ace Barbers of Surigao del Norte’s 2nd District moved to form a technical working group (TWG) with the health committee to flesh out the bill filed by former House Speaker and current Davao del Norte 1st District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez.

In his speech, Alvarez used colorful language to describe the current state of cannabis in the country.

“The classification of cannabis and its derivatives, as a dangerous drug, is bullsh*t. It makes no sense at all. And we must correct this absurdity,” he said on Tuesday, February 21.

“If the government allows harmful products like alcoholic beverages, cancer-causing cigarettes, and diabetes-bringing sugary drinks, why can’t we decriminalize the production and sale of a substance that is less harmful, has many benefits, and can be a source of government revenue?” Alvarez said.

The former House leader also argued that legalizing marijuana in the Philippines would generate wealth that the government can use for its programs and projects.

“We can decriminalize cannabis and its derivatives, and we can collect billions worth of taxes from its production and sale. We can use the added revenues to build more roads and bridges, more classrooms and hospitals, and more public service in pursuit of the common good. We can also use the extra taxes collected to help our country pay for our deep debt brought on by the economic crisis during the pandemic,” Alvarez said.

What the bill says

Republic Act No. 9165, also known as the amended Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, lists cannabis as a dangerous drug and substance.

Individuals convicted of cultivating marijuana, and possessing 10 grams of marijuana resin or marijuana resin oil, as well as 500 grams or more of marijuana, face a fine of up to P10 million and life imprisonment.

Alvarez’s proposal, House Bill No. 6783, seeks to exclude cannabis, cannabis resin and extracts, and tinctures of cannabis from the list.

Batanes Representative Ciriaco Gato expressed concern that the delisting of cannabis would pave the way for the recreational use of marijuana.

“I am thinking that while alcohol and tobacco are really bad, marijuana is also bad. As to which is more harmful, I think it depends on the amount,” Gato said, arguing that a variety of cannabis has negative effects. “Marijuana just like alcohol has some effects from a medical and social standpoint.”

Outlook

The proposal is in its early stages, and it is not among the priority bills of the Marcos administration.

The dangerous drugs committee also seeks to conduct further review on the subject.

“I would like to listen first to the opinions of all the members, and opinions of the experts,” Barbers told Rappler when asked whether he would back the measure and eventually defend it at the House plenary.

“A lot of discussions will have to be made because if the proponent’s intention is to delist it, there must be some basis as to why he wants to delist it,” he said. “Before we pursue the idea of making it available for sale, it has to be delisted [from the list of dangerous drugs].”

Aside from the bill filed by Alvarez, there are also multiple bills referred to the health committee seeking to legalize medical marijuana.

That panel has yet to take up such measures, chairman Gato told Rappler, but he said he is in favor of medical, regulated marijuana.

The House, led by then-Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in the 17th Congress, already approved a bill seeking to legalize medical marijuana, but the proposal languished in the Senate. The lower chamber in the 18th Congress, however, failed to move past the TWG level. – Rappler.com

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https://www.rappler.com/nation/house-panel-bill-revives-talks-decriminalize-marijuana-use-philippines/



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Latina woman alleges she was denied job with cannabis nonprofit because she’s not Black

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A Latina from Lawndale is suing an organization that bills itself as fighting for “cannabis justice” with a goal to “heal the legacy of racism in America,” alleging she was told she was not chosen for a position with the nonprofit in 2023 because she is not Black.

Briseida Lupercio Chavez’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit against the Hood Incubator alleges racial discrimination, retaliation and wrongful failure to hire in violation of public policy. She seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

A Hood Incubator representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the suit brought Jan. 5.

According to the suit, the Hood Incubator’s website states its purpose is to fight for “cannabis justice” and to “heal the legacy of racism in America . . . for the health and prosperity” of everyone.

“However, despite its stated vision of being an anti-racist organization, its blatantly discriminatory hiring practices could not be more contradictory to its stated purpose,” the suit states.

Chavez interviewed for a position with the Hood Incubator via Zoom last July with two organization representatives, one of whom is a managing agent, the suit states. The two representatives remained on the Zoom call after the interview and spent 10 minutes talking about why they were  not interested in hiring Chavez because she is not Black, the suit states.

Both representatives mocked Chavez’s race and for saying she had biracial children, telling the plaintiff they found her comments “off- putting” and falsely implying that she only claims to care about Black people because she has Black kids and friends,” according to the suit.

One of the representatives told Chavez that because she is a Latina, she is used to the Latino community “pulling strings for each other,” the suit states.

Chavez was “embarrassed, ashamed, emotionally broken and in financial desperation” after learning that she was not hired allegedly due to her race, national origin and/or color,” the suit states.

Latina woman alleges she was denied job with cannabis nonprofit because she’s not Black

 



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Man allegedly killed roommate, went back to sleep and bought some cannabis before others implored him to call 911

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It is, of course, a law & crime story..

A Maryland man insisted that he shot his roommate in self-defense, but admitted he only called 911 after going back to sleep, buying some marijuana, and communicating with people who implored him to contact authorities, according to court documents obtained by Washington, D.C., NBC affiliate WRC and Fox affiliate WTTG.

Richard Bennaugh, 38, is charged with manslaughter, assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree, and possession of a firearm as someone convicted of a violent felony, show from Prince George’s County show.

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‘There’s only one way to find out’: Man allegedly killed roommate, went back to sleep and bought some weed before others implored him to call 911



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Illegal immigrant cannabis farmer, 30, is allowed to remain in Britain – because being sent back to Serbia would breach his human rights

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The Daily Mail get over excited once again…

A migrant who was jailed over a cannabis farm worth half a million pounds has been granted permission to stay in the UK after successfully arguing he could not be deported as he no longer spoke his native language.

Clirim Kukaj, 30, is ethnically Albanian but was born and brought up in Serbia until at the age of 13 he entered Britain illegally. Seven years later he was granted indefinite leave to remain.

Kukaj and his lawyers have now successfully appealed his deportation on the grounds that returning him to his native country would be a breach of his human rights because he cannot speak the language and can only converse in Albanian.

Immigrational tribunal judge Fiona Lindsley granted the appeal ‘on human rights grounds’, however, the decision has sparked renewed calls for human rights laws to be reconsidered.

A senior Conservative MP told the Telegraph: ‘This demonstrates why we need urgent reform of the asylum system and human rights laws to allow the rapid and effective deportation of dangerous criminals.’

More Blah here

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12941079/Migrant-cannabis-farmer-allowed-remain-Britain-human-right-no-longer-speak-language.html



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