In Light of Resolution Decriminalizing Marijuana, AG Rapadas Warns Its Still Illegal, And He Will Enforce the Law

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Guam – As the Legislative hearing on a resolution decriminalizing marijuana began Wednesday afternoon, Guam Attorney General Lenny Rapadas issued a statement advising that ” the possession, use or distribution of marijuana -dependent on the net weight amount- is illegal and punishable by law.”

The statement sways that the Office of the Attorney General “respects the legislative resolutions” but Rapadas states, “unless and until the manufacturing, possession and use of marijuana is legalized, the OAG will enforce the law as it currently exists.”

READ the statement from Attorney General Rapadas below:

Resolution 201/ Decriminalizing Cannabis

A Statement from AG Rapadas

September 11, 2013- Tamuning, Guam- It is the duty, obligation and completely within the purview of The Office of the Attorney General to enforce all existing criminal laws on Guam, which include cases involving marijuana and other controlled substances.

As it currently stands, the possession, use or distribution of marijuana-dependant on the net weight amount- is illegal and punishable by law.

Title 9 of the Guam Code Annotated (GCA)  §67.401.1(b)(1) provides that the manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substances like marijuana are punishable as a felony and carries a possible sentence of up to 15 years imprisonment for first time offenders.

However, simple possession and use of 1 oz. or less of marijuana has essentially been decriminalized under Guam law for nearly 20 years or so.  Under 9 G.C.A. §67.401.2(b) (3), the possession of 1 oz. or less of marijuana is only a criminal violation and punishable by a $100 fine.  Additionally, Guam law under 9 G.C.A. §67.401.2(b)(2) also provides that simple possession of more than 1 oz. of marijuana is only a petty misdemeanor crime punishable by no more than 60 days jail time and by a fine of no more than $500.

All of these laws can be reasonably construed as the Territory of Guam’s policies about how law enforcement should deal with marijuana. Because the federal government decides not to prosecute certain crimes, it does not necessarily follow that we do the same.

Though it does not carry the force of law, and neither does it necessarily fulfill the will of the people, the OAG respects the legislative resolutions of I Liheslaturan Guahan. Societal standards of the community and the best evidence for or against an issue, such as the legalization of a controlled substance, presented without emotion or hyperbole should be taken into account when new policy changes are contemplated.

Unless and until the manufacturing, possession and use of marijuana is legalized, the OAG will enforce the law as it currently exists.