Guam – Lawmakers spent a good portion of the morning discussing the Medical Marijuana bill which is still in bill form but it’s not like an ordinary bill. Instead, if passed and signed by the Governor it get’s sent to the election commission for placement on this year’s general election ballot as a voter referendum.
A referendum is normally placed on the ballot after getting enough signatures from registered voters but in this case it would only require that this bill be passed and signed by the Governor.
“If the majority of our colleagues pass this bill it would go up for the Governor’s signature and when that get’s approved then it would be sent. The bill would be sent to the election commission and then the educational campaign would start from there,” said Senator Tina Muna Barnes who authored the bill.
Usually voter referendums like these are done via a voter initiative which requires a certain number of signatures from registered voters. However in this case if the bill is passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor it won’t require voter signatures and instead will go straight to the Guam Election Commission for inclusion in this year’s general election. This could allow the voters of Guam to decide whether or not they support medical marijuana.
On the session floor Vice-Speaker B.J. Cruz spoke spoke in favor of the bill about a significant person in his life who passed away a couple years ago. Cruz said his friend was suffering from cancer and the combination of cancer and chemotherapy weakened his body. “In order to be able to get him to eat the only way the only thing that could calm his stomach after the chemo and the medication he was taking was to ingest medical marijuana,” said Vice-Speaker Cruz.
Even though the bill will go up for a referendum, senators still made amendments to the measure. The only major change made to the bill was an amendment to take out the homegrown provision which would’ve allowed those with prescriptions to grow a limited amount of marijuana at their home for medical purposes and only until the Department of Public Health could come up with rules and regulations to allow for licensed medical marijuana growers.
The amendment was passed without any objections. Senator Tommy Morrison introduced the amendment that deleted this provision. “Well I was very concerned about the exposure of medicinal marijuana to our children our youth in our community so I wanted to make sure that the homegrown cultivation section was amended, deleted so we don’t open this up potentially leaving it where our children are exposed to medicinal marijuana,” said Senator Morrison.
If the bill is passed and signed by the Governor it will be sent to the election commission where they will have to begin developing educational pamphlets to be passed out to the public and then the public will have the chance to vote on medical marijuana in the general election.