Cannabis cultivation not allowed on CLTC lands

Jack Hattig, Chamorro Land Trust Commission (CLTC) director

Despite the enactment of Bill 32-35 into law, the Chamorro Land Trust Commission (CLTC) will not allow cultivation of cannabis on leased lands, according to Jack Hattig III, administrative director.

Bill 32-35 or the “The Cannabis Industry Act of 2019” was signed into law by Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero last week.

Hattig spoke about the issue during an interview with K-57’s Phil Leon Guerrero on Friday.  According to Hattig, some of the CLTC inventory is being conveyed by the federal government. Cannabis is still considered illegal under federal statutes.

Hattig also spoke about how the commission is striving for more transparency and accountability, particularly on the management and integrity of the commission’s waiting list and the process of awarding leases to beneficiaries.

He only has the authority to approve lease applications but not grant the actual lease. This directive prompted Hattig to review 28 red-marked leases under the CLTC that were x-marked by former CLTC administrator Michael Borja.

Hattig says the commission has undertaken enormous efforts to legally maintain the waiting list and the awarded leases, affording various forms of mitigation to avoid issues with lessees. The commission’s efforts include acreage reduction and non-punitive memorandums or issuing warnings.

Funding remains a recurring challenge for some lease awardees. While there are concerns about leasing out properties to for-profit companies, Hattig noted in a recent working session that commercial contracts provide the commission with critical funding for operations.

These contracts also provide funding for awardees to build infrastructure on leased lands. The total land trust inventory is at 11,669 acres, according to Hattig. Only 9 percent of the total acreage is designated for commercial leases.