Guam set to legalize recreational marijuana
Following the March 7 public hearing that saw the participation of local residents in the debate, the legalization of marijuana in Guam has garnered mixed reactions. The proposed Bill 32-35, authored by Senator Clynt Ridgell (D), named the “Guam Cannabis Industry Act of 2019” will allow adults age 21 and older to personally cultivate, purchase, and use cannabis and cannabis products in Guam, in addition to commercial cultivation, manufacturing and sales of cannabis and cannabis products for personal use.
The bill has also received the support of Governor Lou Guerrero (D) who is following up on her campaign promise to legalize recreational marijuana for its potential financial gains in terms of revenues, but also hinting on her previous statement regarding the regulation of the plant just like tobacco and alcohol, which are not considered to be against family protection on the island.
Senator Ridgell shared positive feedback he gathered from the community on his bill, which he said mostly concerned misinformation people had on marijuana through propaganda campaigns over the years. Andrea Pellacani of Grassroots Guam—an organization that advocates for and provides information on cannabis as an alternative medical treatment, hinted on various recommendations aimed at improving the island’s cannabis policy by creating a division at the Department of Revenue and Taxation to assist with the implementation and help oversee the program among others.
Regarding the implementation process, there have been worries coming from doctors who worry on the legal implications of the policy and the lack of knowledge on the proper prescription to patients. Concerns have been previously raised by the Guam Visitors Bureau two years ago, stating that the legalization could jeopardize the island’s image as a family friendly and safe destination. However, the GVB president Nathan Denight stated that the bill is under review and will be furtherly discussed by the bureau’s board of directors under the leadership of the newly appointed president, Pilar Laguaña.
As per the bill’s author, the bill has been co-sponsored by 5 other members with a bipartisan support, which set it on a path to probable adoption.