CNMI Senate Expected To Vote On Marijuana Legalization Bill Today

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Guam – The CNMI Senate is expected to vote today [Friday] on a House bill legalizing marijuana use in the CNMI for all purposes, but attorney Jeanne Rayphand is urging senators to investigate and research the issues first before taking action on the controversial measure.

In a Nov. 15 letter to senators, Rayphand said she has not found any support for the Department of Public Health’s argument that the Commonwealth will lose  $10 million in federal grants should the bill authored by Rep. Stanley Torres is enacted into law, or that children will be more at risk.

Rayphand also said the passage of the marijuana bill will have no effect on the federal law regarding the control of marijuana.

Senate President Paul Manglona, however, reiterated yesterday that the marijuana bill will likely be defeated in the Senate’s session on Rota this afternoon.

Sen. Luis Crisostimo, for his part, conceded that it is likely that a medical marijuana bill will gain more support than a bill that allows marijuana use for all purposes, including recreational use.

Torres earlier said if the Senate thumbs down his bill, he will introduce a new measure focusing on medical marijuana use.

CNMI Governor Benigno Fitial has already said he supports the medical use alternative.

The Senate will vote on the “for all purposes” bill this afternoon.