Saipan Select becomes first cannabis producer and retail licensee in the CNMI

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Standing from left to right, Senate President Jude Hofschneider and members of Saipan Select, LLC. Seated from left to right, CNMI Cannabis Commission Chair Nadine Deleon Guerrero, Governor Ralph DLG. Torres, LT. Governor Arnold Palacios, and CNMI Cannabis Commission Managing Director Monique Sablan. (CNMI Office of the Governor Photo)

The CNMI Cannabis Commission has announced the licensure of the Commonwealth’s first Producer Class III and Retail licenses to Saipan Select, LLC.

The Producer Class III license is the largest of the commercial production licenses the CNMI Cannabis Commission offers and permits the licensee a grow area of up to 5,000 sf. of canopy space for the legal planting, cultivation, growth, harvesting, drying and sale of cannabis to licensed wholesalers, processors, retailers, lounges, laboratories, and/or research certificate holders in the CNMI.

Saipan Select, LLC. also became the first applicant to be issued a retail license under the Commonwealth’s cannabis commercial program. With the issuance of a retail license, the ability for local residents 21 and older to purchase marijuana legally over-the-counter is now a reality, paving the way for the local industry to start seeing some real revenue generation.

The Commission’s goal since its organizational meeting in September of 2019 was to create a safe environment for local residents to have an option to consume cannabis legally. With the licensure of the CNMI’s first retail establishment, that vision is now a reality. The Commission continues to work diligently to promote responsible adult use while supporting our local cannabis operators and ensuring public safety is maintained by means of vigorous education outreach efforts and partnering with the local Department of Public Safety and the Attorney General’s Office to ensure enforcement guidelines are followed.

Over twenty commercial applications from potential cannabis operators have been received and reviewed by the Commission. Out of those received, seven have been issued Approval in Principle (AIP) letters. An AIP letter certifies that the Commission has reviewed the applicant’s submission with the determination that most of the applicant document submissions have been completed and approved for licensure pending the fulfillment of specific requirements in accordance to the Cannabis Commission’s rules and regulations and CNMI Public Laws 20-66 and 21-05.

Majority of the delay in full licensure by the Commission is pending the establishments’ onsite premises inspections while potential applicants move towards completing construction of their structures.

As set by statute, the schedule fee of the list of commercial applications may be found on the CNMI Cannabis Commission’s official website at www.cnmicannabis.org.

In March 2020, the Commission met its 180-day statutory deadline by adopting its emergency rules and regulations.

In August 2020, the Commission opened its doors to begin intake of commercial and homegrown registry applications.

And in March 2021, T-Marianas became the first commercial cannabis licensee in the Commonwealth when its approval for a Class I Producer license was granted by the Commission.

(CNMI Office of the Governor Release)

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