Newsbrief: Philippine Drug Doc Calls for Marijuana Decriminalization 11/26/04

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items


recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed

SUBSCRIBE TODAY!!! /philippines.shtml

Like much of Southeast Asia, the Philippines is in the midst of drug war hysteria. The newspapers are filled with drug busts and sympathetic accounts of death squad killings of drug users and sellers -- a recent headline about yet another death squad killing was titled simply, "Die, Druggie." Yet even in the Philippines, voices for drug reform can be heard.

It happened last week in Visayan, when city councilor Noel de Jesus, a physician accredited with the national Dangerous Drugs Board, called in a forum for the decriminalization of the use and possession of marijuana. Criminal penalties should be replaced with administrative sanctions, he said, according to a report in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

"If we decriminalize marijuana, we will decongest our judicial system and we will be unburdening our law enforcement authorities," de Jesus said, pointing to the experience of other countries that have decriminalized marijuana use. "This might sound very revolutionary in our setting, but this is to help defuse a problem that has gone out of proportion," he said.

What de Jesus is suggesting is indeed a far cry from official policy in the archipelago. Under current Philippine law, possession of 500 grams (a little more than one pound) of marijuana is punishable by death, while possession of between five and 499 grams merits a life sentence. The law goes easier on small-time offenders: Those who possess less than five grams face only a 12-year prison sentence.

Although Filipino marijuana laws are severe, they do not appear to have chased the weed away. Authorities seized 30 million pounds of pot last year, and the hardy plant is grown throughout the country, especially in the remote mountainous areas of northern Luzon, central Visayas, and Mindanao.

De Jesus added that unlike shabu (methamphetamine), marijuana does not make people violent. Instead, it "keeps them in their place," he said. The doctor also debunked the notion that once people become addicts, they are addicts for life, citing his own experience with cigarettes.

Not everyone liked what they heard. As the Inquirer reported: "Fernando Martinez, the provincial action officer of the Anti-Drug Abuse and Prevention Council, frowned on De Jesus' suggestion."

-- END --
Link to Drug War Facts
Please make a generous donation to support Drug War Chronicle in 2007!          

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Issue #364 , 11/26/04

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items


recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed


Editorial: Epic and Turbulent Times | DRCNet Event: Rep. Barney Frank to Keynote for Perry Fund Forum/Fundraiser, December 9, 2004, Boston | Seeking Political Traction, Britain's Blair Marches Boldly Backwards on Drug Policy | SSDP Does College Park: Sixth Annual National Conference Shows Off a Maturing Organization | Newsbrief: Pennsylvania "Treatment and Jail" Sentencing Reform Gets Governor's Signature | Newsbrief: Polls Find Canadian Majority Favoring Marijuana Legalization | Newsbrief: More Support for Medical Marijuana from Connecticut Nurses and Texans | Newsbrief: Rep. Souder Busily Fighting the "Good" Fight | Newsbrief: University of Vermont to Pay $15,000 to Students Arrested for Marijuana Advocacy | Newsbrief: Federal Appeals Court Says Police Can Take Hair Samples Whenever They Feel Like It | Newsbrief: Philippine Drug Doc Calls for Marijuana Decriminalization | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | This Week in History | Apply Now to Intern At DRCNet! | Criminal Justice Policy Foundation Seeking Executive Secretary or Administrative Assistant | Seeking Information, Affiliations, Link Exchanges | The Reformer's Calendar

This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
Chronicle archives
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en EspaŮol Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em PortuguÍs Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone (202) 293-8340 Fax (202) 293-8344 [email protected]