CNMI: Senate Likely to Reject House Medicinal Marijuana Bill

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Guam – The CNMI Senate is expected to give a thumbs down to a CNMI House bill that would legalize marijuana use in the Commonwealth for medicinal purposes.

Senate President Paul A. Manglona said he does not support the bill and instead called on House members to work with the Senate’s ad-hoc Committee on Tax Policy and Enforcement Review “on exploring ways to effectively enforce tax laws and generate revenue” that is not related to marijuana use.

Authored by Rep. Stanley Torres, House Bill 17-45 passed the House on Wednesday. It seeks to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana use for medicinal and other purposes in the CNMI.

In a cost-benefit analysis, the House Committee on Natural Resources said the enactment of the bill into law “will possibly result in the loss of federal funds but at the same time the Commonwealth government will generate funds through taxation.”

Public Health Secretary Joseph Kevin Villagomez earlier said the CNMI Department of Public Health may lose over $10 million in federal grants should the marijuana legalization bill becomes law.

Under federal law, marijuana remains a Schedule I drug and is illegal to use and possess.