‘GVB has not presented any credible data on adverse effect of cannabis’

Marijuana leaf (PNC file photo)

Cannabis Control Board chairwoman Vanessa Williams was the guest speaker at Thursday’s Rotary Club of Guam meeting where she said the Guam Visitors Bureau hasn’t really presented any verifiable data that would support their concerns about adult-use recreational marijuana.

GVB has been opposing the use of cannabis in Tumon, the island’s main tourism district, saying that marijuana would taint Guam’s image as a family-friendly destination and deter tourists from visiting Guam.

According to GVB, adult-use recreational cannabis would have a net economic loss of $486.2 million and a loss of about 6,000 jobs.

But Williams said these figures were just derived from internal GVB data and not the result of a real, official study conducted by qualified individuals.

“I’ve seen numbers floated around in the media. But I have not seen a single study from GVB that is from a doctor’s or a master’s degree holder in economics — or whatever the law requires — that says that cannabis is going to cause all those drastic reductions in tourism numbers,” Williams said.

The CCB, on the other hand, has an official study conducted by reputable experts in the industry, Williams said.

“So what CCB does have is an economic impact study whose parameters were determined by, who, I would think, is the foremost representative of the visitor industry on Guam — and that is the Guam Visitors Bureau itself. We have a study that they procured, that they solicited and that they negotiated … a study coming from a serious economics firm,” Williams said.

She added that the CCB board hears and recognizes the position of tourism stakeholders who want an absolute ban on cannabis, including a ban on cannabis consumption anywhere in Tumon.

“But if the legislature wanted an outright ban on any sample or any village, they would have put that in the law,” Williams stressed.

“So my response to the concerns by the visitor industry is … we hear you.
The board hears you. But, just so that you know, our charge is to get data and the facts that support any rules or changes to these proposed cannabis rules,” Williams added.