Miss Universe is taking a stance marked different from the Philippines' official policy.
Catriona Gray was announced Miss Universe 2018 when the pageant wrapped up today. The Filipina-Australian model is garnering attention not only for her win, but also for what she told the judges during the Q&A portion of the event. When asked how she felt about cannabis, Gray stated she supported the "medical use but not so for the recreational use of the plant."
Now, lawmakers in the Philippines are hopeful that Gray's support for medical marijuana will help move things forward in her home country. Currently the Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act—a bill that would legalize medical marijuana in the Southeast Asian nation—is pending before the House of Representatives.
"We are certain her statement during the pageant will convince Congress to expedite passage of HB 6517 into law," House Deputy Majority Leader Ron Salo, a supporter of the new legislation, told ABS-CBN News.
However, the Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte is one of the global leaders in the war on drugs. Under his administration, thousands of people involved with the illicit drug trade have been killed.
With her recent Miss Universe win, Gray now has a significant platform to become an even bigger voice for drug policy reforms in a country that desperately needs them. And we hope she seizes the opportunity.