TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Gov. James S. Edduba expressed his all-out support to the immediate passage of the medical marijuana measure pending in both chambers of Congress to help in deterring the proliferation of the rampant cultivation of the illegal hemp in the hinterlands of the Cordillera, especially in Benguet and Kalinga.
However, he pointed out that lawmakers must ensure that the provisions of the medical marijuana measure should be favorable to the farmers to prevent the proliferation of illegal marijuana cultivators once the law will be enacted by Congress and signed into law by President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. in the future.
The governor pointed out that the government should not allow multinational companies to control the production and the manufacturing of the medicinal marijuana because this will defeat the purpose of supposedly curbing the illegal cultivation of marijuana in the hinterlands of the region.
“Once the government will allow multinational corporations will control the production and manufacturing of medicinal marijuana which will be to the detriment of farmers, then the illegal cultivation of the hemp will continue and will remain a problem among concerned government agencies and local governments,” Gov. Edduba stressed.
He claimed that the medicinal marijuana law should be pro-farmers to help in effectively and efficiently addressing the cultivation of the illegal hemp in the hinterlands of the region to avoid more problems.
The remote town of Tinglayan, Kalinga; Bakun, Kibungan and Kapangan, Benguet and other far flung villages of Ilocos Sur and La Union remain the major producers of high-grade marijuana being circulated in the different parts of the country over the past several decades.
The medical marijuana bill had been repeatedly filed in both chambers of Congress in the past but this did not hurdle the committee and plenary levels because of the various issues and concerns raised against the legalization of the cultivation of marijuana solely for medicinal purposes.
According to Gov. Edduba, the proposed medicinal marijuana law must advance the greater interest of the farmers so that they will be convinced to support this and abandon the illegal cultivation of marijuana in the hinterlands and embrace better opportunities for them to decently earn income.
Earlier, police operatives and anti-narcotics agents identified the Cordillera as the primary producer of high-grade marijuana which commands higher buying prices because of the difficulty in cultivating and transporting the illegal hemp from the source to the beneficiaries.
Edduba asserted that it is high time that the image of the Cordillera being the source of high grade marijuana be removed because of its negative impact to the other legitimate industries as the major source of income of the people, especially those living in the far flung communities where access to basic services is difficult.