District Court rejects lawsuit against Guam Cannabis Act

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A lawsuit asking in part to make the legalization of recreational and medicinal marijuana null and void has been rejected by the federal court. Plaintiff Sedfrey Linsangan now has 14 days to file an objection to the court’s decision.

Linsangan filed a complaint against the Government of Guam asking the District Court of Guam to rule in his favor and rescind the legalization of marijuana on the island.

As part of the complaint, Linsangan also requested that GovGuam be prohibited from making the policies and rules to regulate the sale and distribution of marijuana and declare that Governor Lou Leon Guerrero and the Legislature committed official misconduct by legalizing marijuana.

According to the complaint, Linsangan believes that because marijuana is still illegal with regard to federal law relative to the Controlled Substances Act, the Guam Cannabis Industry Act of 2019 goes against the Organic Act by failing to protect people from the use of a prohibited drug.

While Linsangan argues that he has standing to bring the suit before the court and that he has suffered a personal concrete injury, the federal court does not agree.

In denying the motion for summary judgment the court states “here issues might be political issues which may be more appropriately dealt with in other forums other than the court room.”

In rejecting the lawsuit, the district court noted that Linsangan has cited no law which authorizes private actions to redress a constitutional violation.

Moreover, the district court stated that as the Supreme Court of the United States has held, the supremacy clause does not grant individuals a private right to seek redress of a constitutional violation.

In addition, the district court stated that Linsangan lacks standing to bring an action to declare that the governor and the legislature of Guam have committed official misconduct and have violated federal law.

Because Linsangan lacks standing to bring the legality of the Guam Cannabis Act issue before the court, the court said it is not necessary for it to rule on the Guam Cannabis Act’s legality or illegality.

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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.