SAN FERNANDO CITY, LA UNION – The PDEA-Region 1 (Ilocos) conducted a two-day eradication operation, burning marijuana plants with an estimated value of 5.9 million pesos.
The operation covered Mount Leteban in Barangay Licungan, Sugpon, Ilocos Sur, and Sitio Les-eng in Barangay Tacadang, Kibungan, Benguet province, taking place between January 24 and 25.
Joel Plaza, the Director of PDEA-Region 1, reported the removal of 11,100 mature marijuana plants and the confiscation of 1,800 seedlings, amounting to P2.3 million in value. These were obtained from three plantations covering a combined land area of 1,706 square meters in Sugpon.
Simultaneously, in Kibungan, a total of 18,010 fully grown marijuana plants and 702 marijuana seedlings, valued at P3.6 million, were eradicated from nine plantations encompassing a total land area of 3,129 square meters.
Plaza mentioned that the marijuana plants were burned at their respective locations, and representative samples were transported to their headquarters for documentation and appropriate handling.
Globally, marijuana continues to be a contentious issue, sparking debates on both legal and moral grounds. While some countries are moving toward decriminalization or legalization, in the Philippines, marijuana is predominantly deemed illegal under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 (Republic Act No. 9165). Nevertheless, there have been legislative initiatives focused on reassessing its status, particularly concerning medical applications.
Currently, Republic Act No. 9165 prohibits the unauthorized use, possession, and distribution of marijuana, imposing severe penalties, including imprisonment.
The legislation categorizes marijuana as a dangerous drug, placing it in the same classification as substances such as shabu (methamphetamine) and cocaine.
Several legislative endeavors have been made to legalize the medical use of marijuana. Initiatives like the Medical Compassionate Use of Cannabis Act aim to establish a regulatory framework that would permit patients to utilize marijuana products for medical treatment under strict guidelines.
Advocates often reference scientific research suggesting potential benefits for conditions like epilepsy, chronic pain, and specific mental health disorders.