Rep. Donald Barcinas, the NMI Republican Party’s candidate for Precinct 3, has endorsed the gubernatorial tandem of his party’s opponent, saying he did so because he was disappointed with the enactment of the Cannabis Act.
In a press briefing yesterday where he announced his shift in alliances, Barcinas said he chose to support the independent candidacies of Juan Nekai Babauta and Rita Sablan because he believes the two candidates supports his principles in regards to the Cannabis Act, which was enacted last Sept. 21.
“I cannot continue to support a party that has a different belief, especially when it comes to the marijuana legalization. …That was one of the determining factors why I decided. …I felt dishonored when the governor signed the marijuana legalization bill,” he said.
“We should have put it out for the people to vote if they want to legalize marijuana and not through the legislative process,” he added.
Barcinas does not share the same belief that the Cannabis Act would benefit the community.
“I am against marijuana and its legalization. It’s not good for the community and I don’t believe it will be a revenue generating industry,” he said.
Barcinas said the CNMI itself was also disrespected when Gov. Ralph DLG Torres decided to legalize cannabis.
“Our flag went viral on the internet…the ocean was removed as the background and they put marijuana to replace the ocean and, for me, that was a big dishonor…we wouldn’t have had that if the marijuana bill wasn’t signed into law. The flag is a representation of our people, our attachment to the ocean, the ocean is our livelihood… and when you cover it with marijuana, that’s disrespect,” he said.
Barcinas believes marijuana poses a threat to his constituents and to the children of the CNMI.
“I stand on my principles of what is right. A lot of my constituents are telling me not to support marijuana legalization and that’s why I’m listening to the people that put me in office…” he said.
“There was already an incident at Kagman High School where students baked brownies laced with marijuana and they brought it to school…Some other schools could do the same thing with cookies, brownies, or cakes…lace it with marijuana and bring it to school and innocent students will get stoned,” he added.
He is sure he made the right decision.
“I feel relieved, liberated…I think I made the right decision,” he said.
Babauta said he welcomes Barcinas’ move to endorse his candidacy.
“I welcome his coming to support the Babauta-Sablan team and we welcome him with open arms,” he said.