Mixed views on GovGuam medicinal marijuana use

(PNC photo)
Guam – The Guam Waterworks Authority remains firm in its position of maintaining a drug-free workplace.  According to GWA, their recently amended workplace policy is in line with the governor’s stance.

GWA General Manager Miguel Bordallo referred to Executive Order 2019-11 issued by Governor Lou Leon Guerrero on April 4 and the Attorney General’s statements made on April 5 which supports maintaining a drug-free workplace across GovGuam.

He said, “The drug-free workplace policy recently adopted by GWA through its governing board is in line with both the Governor and Attorney General’s positions and current federal and local laws.”

But for Lieutenant Governor Josh Tenorio, GovGuam employees who are licensed to use medicinal marijuana should be protected.

“This is my position. I do believe that GovGuam employees who have demonstrated – and they are going to be entitled – to use medicinal marijuana to mitigate a health concern, I think they should be protected,” Tenorio said during an interview with K57’s Andrea Pellacani.

GWA’s policy prohibits the hiring of a medicinal cannabis patient who tests positive for THC. GWA employees with a medicinal marijuana license can also be terminated for testing positive.

Bordallo said, ” There is no exemption for medically prescribed cannabis in local law or federal law as it relates to testing of employees under GWA’s drug-free workplace policy.”

Bordallo added: “As far as I know, there are no licensed physicians on Guam prescribing marijuana for patients and that may be because it remains a Schedule 1 controlled substance under federal law, which specifically applies to Guam.”

Because of this, GWA is not entertaining exemptions to their drug policy. He said, “Until there are changes in both federal and local law, GWA’s drug-free workplace policy will remain in full force and effect.”

According to Bordallo, GWA gave employees an opportunity to weigh in on the policy during a public meeting, as required by the Public Employees Management Relations Act.

The public meeting occurred during the Consolidated Commission on Utilities meeting where commissioners put the policy into vote.

Bordallo said they had the opportunity at the meeting where the CCU adopted the policy. He said the meeting was quote, “properly noticed and the policy was deliberated and adopted in the public meeting by a unanimous vote of the Commissioners to continue GWA’s efforts to protect public health and safety.”

He further stated that there are no requirements to “negotiate” the substance of GWA’s drug-free workplace policy.

Meanwhile, the lieutenant governor said more research needs to be done on the drug-free workplace policy.

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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.