ITOGON, Benguet – Rep. Eric Yap expressed his support to the passage of the medical marijuana bill proposed by Senator Robinhood Padilla as the province will be one of the primary beneficiaries once the cultivation and distribution of marijuana will be regulated.
Yap, who is serving his first term as the province’s representative to the House, claimed that the regulation of the cultivation and distribution of marijuana, especially for medical purposes, will help in containing the illegal cultivation of the prohibited hemp in the hinterlands, not only of Benguet, but also in other nearby provinces in the Ilocos and Cordillera regions.
He pointed out that the proposed law regulating the cultivation and distribution of marijuana will surely contain safety measures that will prevent potential abuses for those planning to take advantage of using the regulation to pursue their illegal activities.
In terms of benefits, the lawmaker claimed that Benguet will surely be one of the identified marijuana plantation areas because this hemp thrives best in the hinterlands which will subsequently translate to the generation of jobs and the provision of available sources of livelihood among the people.
Further, Yap added that the province can also be getting its due share from the excise taxes paid by the manufacturers who will be getting their supply of marijuana from local farmers that would mean an added source of income for the local governments.
He underscored it is important for the government to maximize the potentials of Benguet and other parts of the Cordillera as producers of marijuana which could be used for medical purposes once the proposed bill will be passed so that the development of the province will likely flourish and help in uplifting the living condition of the populace.
Yap clarified that his support to the medical marijuana bill is not to tolerate the illegal cultivation of marijuana but primarily intended to maximize the potentials of the valuable aspect of marijuana as cure for some serious illnesses and even prevent such illnesses while preventing the illegal cultivation of the said hemp which had been proliferating over the past seven decades.
He emphasized that Benguet and some parts of the Cordillera had always been placed in a bad light because of the presence of marijuana plantations in some remote villages that result to the highly publicized marijuana eradication operations conducted by law enforcers resulting to the destruction of millions of pesos worth of marijuana plants.
Yap explained that the regulation of the cultivation and distribution of marijuana will pave the way for the accreditation of cultivators who will only be allowed to plant the hemp in strategic places that will be subject to strict monitoring by the concerned government agencies, law enforcers and local governments and prevent the unscrupulous from taking advantage of the situation in pursuing the illegal distribution of the marijuana since this will be exclusively for medical purposes only.