Cannabis board again tackles marijuana use in Tumon

Marijuana leaf (PNC file photo)

The issue of marijuana in Tumon was again discussed during this afternoon’s Cannabis Control Board (CCB) meeting.

CCB director Therese Arriola, who is also a board member of the Guam Visitors Bureau, specifically asked if the CCB has the power to exempt certain locations of the island from the recreational cannabis law.

Arriola asked the question in lieu of the last CCB meeting during which tourism executives specifically asked whether CCB can just make it illegal to smoke marijuana in a hotel room or simply prohibit cannabis in Tumon or within 1000 feet of an H zone.

“So, do we have the power to exempt certain hotel row sections of our island or not? Because GVB will have to determine where they should go to bring up their concerns. Are their concerns valid to be brought to this board? Can we do something about their concerns? Or is their concern about exempting the tourism zone better brought to the legislature, which created the law?” Arriola asked.

CCB board member Dafne Shimizu, who chaired the meeting, said the board will need to seek clarification from the Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Land Management in terms of understanding the zoning requirements.

Cannabis board member Adrian Cruz said he already had a conversation with DLM director Joe Borja who promised to prepare a map that will indicate all the different types of zones in Tumon.

Arriola said the fact that she sits on both the CCB and the GVB weighs heavily on her because, on one hand, she has to help to establish a brand new industry that can diversify the island’s economy, but on the other hand, also preserve a multi-million dollar industry that has been a pillar of Guam’s economy for more than 50 years now.

“I’m all for diversification of our economy. We’re trying to do something structured and regulated so that this industry can, you know, take off. But the reality is that there may be an impact to another industry that brings in millions, if not billions, of dollars a year. And not to mention over 50 years of investment that the government has already made,” Arriola said.

Cruz said that while he recognizes GVB’s concerns, he is bothered that these concerns are being aired at the very last minute.

“What rubs me the wrong way is that you know, we’ve been 18 months out on this, and this is not really new. I really wish that GVB, or whoever, would have been a little more involved, or voiced a little more their concerns when we were still talking about these particular things in the past, instead of waiting, you know, until now, basically at the last moment,” he said.