Palace reacts to Gray’s stand on medical marijuana

MANILA — Malacañang on Monday said it was best to ask newly-crowned Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Elisa Magnayon Gray herself how she came up with her choice to support the legalization of marijuana but only for medicinal purposes.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this remark after Gray, in the question-and-answer portion for top 5 candidates, said she was for marijuana’s medical use.

Host Steve Harvey asked the question: “Canada recently joined Uruguay as the second nation in the world to make marijuana legal. What is your opinion on the legalization of marijuana?”

Gray answered: “I’m for being used in medical use but not so for recreational use. Because I think if people were to argue, ‘what about alcohol and cigarettes?’ So, everything is good but in moderation.”

Panelo, however, said although Gray could have made up her own decision on the matter, there was also a chance it was influenced by the stand of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

“Catriona Gray’s position on the legalization of marijuana for healing purposes could have been influenced by PRRD’s stand on the matter or she could have come up with that conclusion after considering the pros and cons of the issue,” Panelo told reporters.

“She is the only one who can answer whether or not she was influenced by PRRD. I suggest you ask her after her triumphant return,” he added.

Earlier, Malacañang reiterated that the President is in favor of legalizing medical marijuana.

“He (Duterte) said for purposes of medicine to heal, he’s in favor, but not for use other than that,” Panelo said in a briefing.

“There have been researches. In fact, in some countries, marijuana is legalized. In fact, in some states in the US, it is used there. But it is controlled, regulated. The President is for that,” he added.

Gray is the fourth Filipino to win the country’s fourth Miss Universe crown, taking after Pia Wurtzbach (2015), Margie Moran, (1973), and Gloria Diaz (1969).

Malacañang said Gray made the Philippines proud when she showcased “the qualities defining a Filipina beauty: confidence, grace, intelligence and strength in the face of tough challenges.”

“In her success, Miss Philippines has shown to the world that women in our country have the ability to turn dreams into reality through passion, diligence, determination and hard work,” Panelo said.

Panelo said Gray’s victory “sets the bar high in empowering more Filipino women to believe in themselves and to fight for their own place in the universe.”