Cannabis Commission in talks with off-island investors

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The CNMI Cannabis Commission is on a high as talks with off-island investors continue to roll amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chair Nadine Deleon Guerrero, in an interview, revealed that the commission is in communication with investors from even as far as Washington, D.C. and Boston, Massachusetts as well as from other states. They are looking into a vertical integration setup.

“One of them wants to be a producer, as well as a retailer as well as a Class 1 lounge licensee holder. And then we have another one who’s also a producer, and is interested in wholesale.”

“We have other investors that have shown interest in opening up a lab, which is the key component that we’re missing in fully launching the medicinal program side, which is very important because testing is very, very vital when it comes to all those that are interested in obtaining a medicinal registry card.”

There are three sections in the law that the Cannabis Commission is pushing out—homegrown, commercial, and medicinal.

The homegrown rules would allow the public to be able to grow cannabis at home, within the confines of the law; the commercial regulations would allow for the commercial aspect of the marijuana industry where people can invest, sell, or have a lounge; and medicinal regulations for people using marijuana for medical or medicinal purposes.

Aside from off-island investors, the commission is also looking forward to having local investors.

“We also have people… our own people, which is what I’m most excited about, because these are local entrepreneurs that are just, we’re kind of holding the floodgates, [in terms of] when can they apply.”

The Cannabis Commission is currently setting up their new office on Capital Hill, as well as developing a dedicated website where investors, and interested individuals, could find more about the regulations, with both expected to be done by August.

They are also currently working on amending some minor language technicalities in the regulation, per the Office of the Attorney General’s advice. The commission also, at the moment, only has one staff in the person of its managing director Monique Sablan, but is looking to expand as well.

Sablan ensures the commission’s stakeholders that they can handle the capacity, in terms of investors, and that they are ready and excited to serve.

“We’re working as hard as we can. We’ve been going back and forth with the Attorney General’s Office on ensuring that our applications are written in the best way possible to not only protect the applicant, but protect the CNMI government first and foremost.”

Iva Maurin | Author
Iva Maurin is a communications specialist with environment and community outreach experience in the Philippines and in California. She has a background in graphic arts and is the Saipan Tribune’s community and environment reporter. Contact her at iva_maurin@saipantribune.com

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