LA TRNIDAD, Benguet – During his State of the Province Address (SOPA) on August 15 at the Provincial Capitol, Benguet Governor Crescencio Pacalso remarked that the legalization of the use of marijuana, and the concomitant legalization the cultivation of marijuana plants (Cannabis sativa), will surely boost the local economy and confer benefit especially to those who know how to cultivate it.
This was his reaction on reports that House Bill N0. 180, or the proposed Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, was favored by apparently positive response from some members of the House of Representatives.
Pacalso observed that there are medical research studies indicating that marijuana, especially oil extracted from the leaves, can bring various benefits to people who are terminally ill, such as those who are cancer-stricken.
Pacalso said the province will certainly welcome the legalization of marijuana, as cultivators will be allowed to plant marijuana under appropriate strict monitoring.
He said it will be on a limited basis for cultivation acknowledging that cannabis has addictive properties, and could be prone to abuse when its use is not controlled.
He said that, if marijuana is legalized for medical purposes, there will be the possibility that cultivation will prosper in Benguet, where the climate and the soil are conducive for the purpose.
For now, the governor announced, the provincial government is actively distributing cacao seeds to all 13 municipalities in his jurisdiction as a replacement crop in areas once used as marijuana plantations.
He said that the province of Benguet has been evaluated favorably for cacao production: “Cacao can thrive in high elevations at an altitude up to 900 meters above the sea level.”
Pacalso said they are aiming to get a share of the market in the United States and Europe, which are heavy importers of cacao for producing chocolate. The peak market season of processed chocolates is month of November, when is thanksgiving season in the West and every where in the world, followed by Christmas season the following month.