OAG responds to lawsuit questioning adult-use cannabis law

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(PNC photo)

Guam – The Guam Cannabis Industry Act of 2019 (Public Law 35-5) decriminalized the personal use of marijuana for individuals who are 21 years old and older. Aside from imposing a tax on the industry, it also placed restrictions on cultivation and regulates cannabis-related operations. But not everyone agrees with its passage.

Sedfrey Linsangan has filed a lawsuit in the District Court of Guam arguing that the Cannabis Industry Act is inorganic and violates the Controlled Substances Act.

With the passage of the legislation, Linsangan said GovGuam violated a federal law that establishes drug policies for the manufacturing, importation, possession, use, and distribution of regulated substances.

But the Attorney General’s Office has filed an opposition to Linsangan’s lawsuit. According to the OAG, Congress defined “state” in the CSA to include the territories.

“Thus, the CSA leaves States and territories, including Guam, free to pass laws relating to marijuana so long as they do not create a ‘positive conflict’ with federal law,” the OAG stated in a release.

The OAG also argued that Linsangan lacks standing to bring this lawsuit because he has not suffered personal or tangible harm as a result of the passage of the Act.

Finally, the OAG argued that the CSA does not give the plaintiff a right to enforce its provisions.

Shannon Taitano, the Litigation Division’s acting deputy attorney general, filed the opposition to Linsangan’s motion for summary judgment on behalf of GovGuam.

Linsangan’s is expected to reply to the motion early next month.

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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.