It’s been a tough few weeks for the cannabis industry’s image on Guam.
An economic study from earlier this year promised big things but the Guam Visitors Bureau made news by expressing concerns that cannabis would hurt tourism.
So what do the cannabis industry’s supporters say?
The economic study was submitted to the legislature in October.
Among its findings, the study projected that visitors would spend about $1.3 million on cannabis in the first year.
The study said that would spill over into $64 million worth of revenue for ancillary industries as well as $93 million in business sales.
GVB, however, said there’s a slight problem.
GVB said their own research showed revenue generated by cannabis would come at the cost of losing $486 million in its established markets.
They said the economic promises made by cannabis proponents ignore the cultural sensitivities of Guam’s biggest tourist markets and that it’s a mistake to compare Guam to places like Amsterdam or even the states.
So does this mean the high hopes many have for cannabis have gone up in smoke?
Senator Clynt Ridgell, who authored the bill that led to the legalization of adult-use cannabis, says not so fast.
He says GVB’s latest stance is contradicting its own study.
And that contrary to popular belief, the study that promised such big economic benefits wasn’t prepared by the Cannabis Control Board, but by GVB itself.
“They said on one hand in their economic impact study that they procured, that it would be good for Guam. Now, on the other hand, they’re turning around and saying that it would be bad for tourism. So again, I don’t know who to believe. GVB or GVB,” Ridgell said.
As to concerns about cultural sensitivities, Ridgell says that according to GVB’s economic impact study, the attitudes of Asian countries towards cannabis is changing.
South Korea has legalized medicinal cannabis and Japan, as well as other countries, are looking at doing the same.
“In the economic impact study, it mentions this. And it says that they’re looking at cannabis being a major market in Asia in the future. In fact, they cited another study done by Prohibition Partners that says in 2024, I believe, they think the cannabis market in Asia could be worth $8.5 billion,” Ridgell said.
Senator Ridgell says he hopes cannabis rules and regulations will be finalized by sometime next year.