GVB president: ‘It’s too soon for cannabis’

Guam Visitors Bureau president Carl Gutierrez (PNC file photo)

Supporters of the cannabis industry say it’s a financial boom waiting to happen as well as an important step in diversifying Guam’s economy.

But Guam Visitors Bureau president Carl Gutierrez says it’s too soon for cannabis and that it threatens Guam’s most important and reliable industry.

Gutierrez says that going all-in on the cannabis industry will threaten Guam’s image as a family-friendly tourist destination.

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He told Newstalk K57’s Patti Arroyo this morning that although he thinks the island should hold off on the industry for now, he’s not averse to eventually marketing Guam to cannabis travelers if visitor data supports it.

“Eventually, maybe, but right now we’re a family market. And this is what we’re getting out of our representatives in the source markets in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. They’re asking and begging us not to put this in the mix because it is a negative thing for Guam,” he said.

Gutierrez says instead of cannabis, Guam should double down on its family-friendly image.

He also says the business community should take advantage of the availability of rapid testing kits on island.

Gutierrez says GVB has been developing plans to safely reopen the island’s businesses using rapid testing, restaurants in particular. And he said the governor’s response to the plans has been positive.

During a Cannabis Control Board meeting on Monday, board member Adrian Cruz accused GVB of hypocrisy when it comes to concerns about tarnishing Guam’s family-friendly image.

Cruz pointed out that a walk down Tumon would reveal non-family-friendly establishments like strip joints, bars, and massage parlors.

Gutierrez says adult entertainment venues are different because the activities they entertain happen behind closed doors.

“Nobody can say what’s going on, because I don’t see it..and neither do the families see it. They may see a sign or two that leads to a back alley but when you open up the cannabis open to the public..open publicly, for example..on the sidewalks on Pleasure Island..it’s different. You can’t compare the two,” Gutierrez said.