CNMI makes history; recreational marijuana Legal

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CNMI Gov. Ralph Torres signs marijuana legalization into law. PHOTO BY SENATOR JUDE HOFSCHNEIDER

CNMI – With an 18-0 vote in the House of Representatives and a 6-0 in the Senate, a recreational marijuana bill passed the CNMI legislative body with overwhelming support in August. Today, CNMI Governor Ralph Deleon Guererro Torres signed the Taulamwaar Sensible CNMI Act of 2018 into law.

The CNMI is the first U.S. Territory to legalize recreational marijuana, and the first in the United States, to create a commercial market for the herb through legislation, rather than through a voter-initiative.

Read the statement below:

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 21, 2018

Statement from Governor Ralph DLG. Torres on the signing of the

Taulamwaar Sensible CNMI Cannabis Act of 2018

 

Today, our people made history. We took a stand to legalize marijuana in the CNMI for recreational, medical, and commercial use.

From the hard work of our Legislature going out and conducting numerous public hearings on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota to the overwhelming support from members of our community, it is only fitting that I sign this bill into law in the best interest of our people, especially those suffering from debilitating illnesses and for our island economy.

Now, I want to advise the Commonwealth that it is not legal to use marijuana yet. We have 30 days to set up our Cannabis Commission by appointing members from Saipan, Tinian, Rota, and the Northern Islands, and our local legislative delegations would need to confirm them within 30 days. Then, our commission have 180 days to create the regulations and promulgate them. The regulations take into effect 10 days after adoption and publication with our Commonwealth Register.

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.

I want to thank our Legislature, especially the authors Senator Sixto K. Igisomar and Rep. Joseph P. Deleon Guerrero, our advocates, and everyone in our community for sharing their concerns and helping us realize this historic day for the people that call these islands home.

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