The Commonwealth Cannabis Commission last Monday noted that although they already had some form of piecemeal draft regulation on marijuana and its usage, it emphasized that some wrinkles have to be ironed out first before they can even start to discuss it.
Commission chair Nadine Deleon Guerrero told Saipan Tribune in an interview that although there is already a draft regulation on the homegrown aspect of marijuana in the CNMI, pending legal review from the Office of the Attorney General, pending actual assignment of a legal counsel for the commission, and pending other contributing factors leaves the new government agency tasked with promulgating regulations on the new substance reluctant in discussing the draft regulation.
“…We don’t want to work on something without knowing if it is abiding by [CNMI] law,” Deleon Guerrero told Saipan Tribune in an interview yesterday. “We really need that legal piece for us to move forward,” she said, confirming that draft homegrown regulations are already existing and just pending legal advice and review.
The commission already sent a formal request to the OAG, but no response had been received yet according to the chairwoman.
“While we are trying to get approval for the homegrown regulations, we are also working on the commercial [regulations]…but that is far from being completed,” she said. She further pointed out that discussion on the homegrown regulations have not even taken place yet on the cannabis commission floor.
“We want a legal counsel in the room before deliberation [on the regulations],” she said.
The commission is tentatively scheduled to meet this Friday, however, Deleon Guerrero noted that the commission would not be discussing the regulations yet.
“Our first order of business as a commission is to promulgate our by-laws. We need to regulate ourselves before we start regulating the industry, so that is what is going to come out first before the homegrown registry regulations,” she said.
Deleon Guerrero further noted that the commission is still not operating on a budget since technically, the commission’s budget of about $500,000 would be remitted come fiscal year 2020, which starts on Oct. 1, 2019.
“Because of that, it is hard for us to even staff the necessary people for us to move forward in an efficient way,” she noted.
The commission is provided with 180 days upon its official creation, Sep. 12, 2019, to promulgate rules and regulations on cannabis use, cultivation, and selling in the CNMI. The commission consists of five members representing all islands, namely chair Nadine Deleon Guerrero and Matt Deleon Guerrero representing Saipan, Journie Hofschneider representing Tinian, Thomas Songsong representing Rota, and Valentino Taisacan representing the Northern Islands.