Legislature OK’s pot bill

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Guam's laws currently allow patients suffering from certain conditions to register in the medical marijuana program.

During session tonight, the Guam Legislature passed Bill-32-35  by a narrow vote of 8-7.

Bill 32-35, or the Guam Cannabis Industry Act of 2019, seeks to develop a new industry in Guam as well as create a new source of taxable revenue for the government of Guam.

According to the measure introduced by Sen. Clynt Ridgell, cannabis should be legal for persons 21 years of age or older and its production and sale should be regulated for public health, welfare, safety, and taxation purpose.

Senators William Castro, James Moylan, Vice Speaker Telena Cruz Nelson, Sabina Flores Perez, Amanda L. Shelton, Therese M. Terlaje, and Mary Camacho Torres voted against the bill.

Aside from Ridgell, Sens. Joe San Agustin, Jose Terlaje, Kelly Marsh-Taitano, Louise Muna, Regine Biscoe-Lee, Telo Taitague, and Speaker Tina Muna Barnes voted in support of the bill.

Terlaje, one of those who voted against the measure, said “I voted no on Bill No. 32-35 because I still truly believe that more work needs to be done with our government agencies and within our community before taking this enormous step,” she said in a statement issued following the passage of the measure.

However, she said she is in full support of Guam’s medical cannabis laws and committed to ensuring that patients suffering from illness get access to the relief. She also supports decriminalizing marijuana.

After the legislature voted in favor of the measure, the Governor would have to approve or veto the measure.  Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero has been openly supporting the legalization of adult use marijuana.

Attorney General Leevin Camacho, in a testimony provided to the legislature after the introduction of the bill, said  “I leave the question of legalizing adult-use recreational marijuana to the legislature. But if the practical result of such legislation is to safely allow and foster the development of government or commercial activity involving the use of marijuana or cannabis products, further action may be necessary to achieve that result given the current prohibition on such activity under federal law.”

This is a developing story.