CCC to seek clarification on how pot will impact govt drug policies

Fears possible money laundering

The Commonwealth Casino Commission is seeking clarification on how cannabis affects the drug-free policies of the government as it pertains to the commission and possibly the casino.

Commission executive director Edward Deleon Guerrero said Monday that he is also looking to clarify with the Office of Personnel Management how the CNMI drug policy is affected by the recent enactment of Public Law 20-66, which legalizes medicinal and recreational use of marijuana in the CNMI.

Deleon Guerrero pointed out that the CNMI has a no drug-use policy. What he wants clarified is the question: “Since the [governor signed the cannabis bill]…how would that affect the pre-employment of the government workforce?”

Deleon Guerrero noted that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency still considers cannabis to be a Schedule I drug, alongside heroine, ecstasy, and LSD.

“We also regulate Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC. If the government says that we are…going to [legalize] marijuana, then the issue that I need to know before the commission is if we exempt CCC employees, are we going to exempt IPI employees too?” Deleon Guerrero asked.

CCC chair Juan Sablan noted that they are following the Las Vegas model of casino oversight, which prohibits drug use.

“…It is prohibited by federal law. We are following the Las Vegas model, which prohibits drugs inside [the casino],” he said, adding that the legalization of cannabis and its influence on current policies should be properly studied.

“We have not taken any official position pending a review from OPM on how we would deal with the government’s drug policy,” Deleon Guerrero said.

He fears that money laundering could be an issue. Money laundering is a federal crime involving the “cleaning” of “dirty money,” or money obtained through illegal means.

Deleon Guerrero believes that there may be some problems in the future if the casino does business with individuals involved with the anticipated cannabis industry in the Marianas.

“…Part of Title 31 of the Bank Secrecy Bank, which anti-money laundering provisions are included in, is knowing the source of revenue. Federally speaking, if it is a marijuana-sourced revenue, it is unlawful revenue. If you walk into a casino you are mandated to report a certain amount of cash,” he said.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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