Northern Mariana Islands legalizes marijuana
The United States territory of Northern Mariana Islands has become the first of the territories to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes. The move is notable because as Vox notes, it’s the first US jurisdiction to do so through its legislature, and the first to do with a Republican government. In addition, as State of the Territory indicated, it is “first US jurisdiction to legalize cannabis for recreational use without implementing a medical marijuana program first.”
Governor Ralph Torres of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands on Friday signed HB 20-178 to legalize marijuana.
In particular, the bill allows a person who is 21 or older to “possess and transport up to one ounce of marijuana, 16 ounces of marijuana products in solid form, 72 ounces of cannabis in liquid form, five grams of extracts, and six immature plants.” In addition, the bill “[c]reates a Homegrown Marijuana Registry for adults and patients. Registered individuals may cultivate and process marijuana products at home after paying a $5 annual fee.”
In a signing statement [text], Torres expressed public health concerns and suggested he is expecting an additional bill. “We will ensure that this industry will be properly regulated and enforced. We want to do this the right way, and I also expect the Legislature to send me a companion bill that outlines my recommendations to strengthen this bill for our community’s public safety and public health.”
The passage comes after noted hesitation, and for now, it is unlikely the other territories will follow suit.