CNMI Cannabis Commission’s total budget for FY 2022 is $555,439, collects $44,400 in fees

Among CCC’s challenges was inability to purchase cannabis tracking system

The CNMI Cannabis Commission’s total budget for fiscal year 2022 amounted to $555,439, and it collected a total of $44,400 in fees.

The CCC’s Citizen-Centric Report for FY 2022, however, noted that the application and licensing fees collected are not considered revenue generated as these fees are considered regulatory fees that do not reflect the collection of licensees’ Business Gross Revenue, cannabis tax, and others.

CCC’s report disclosed that total personnel expenditures amounted to $49,368, while expenditures for all others amounted to $257,316. This brings total personnel and all other expenditures to a total of $306,685.

The bulk of expenditures went to board and compensation in the amount of $238,634, and to wages and salaries in the amount of $43,100.

The report states that personnel expenditures were utilized to compensate for the managing director’s yearly salary and the CCC staff.

Costs reflect the resignation of the managing director during the fiscal year and the reduction in personnel expenses during the period in which the position was vacant.

All other expenditures were utilized to cover costs for the CCC commissioners’ salary. Expenditures also include travel and transportation for the Tinian commissioner to assist with application inspections and attend official Commission board meetings.

The remainder of expenses were utilized for operational needs such as office power, supplies, furniture, and the public auditor fees.

On fee collections, the report states that commercial cannabis licensing application fees are nonrefundable and vary in cost depending on the type of license being sought.

CCC collected five applications and a total of $4,000 in application fees from September 2021 to September 2022.

Among those commercial cannabis licensing applications, nine applications were licensed and the CCC collected a total of $40,400 from licensing fees. The figures include renewal applications and licenses.

In fiscal year 2022, CCC reported having to continue facing many challenges due to the ongoing economic shortfall the entire CNMI experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During this time, CCC faced numerous challenges, including its inability to purchase a cannabis tracking system to enable real-time tracking of cannabis within the CNMI.

CCC said a cannabis tracking system is a vital component in all the legalized states in the mainland, as it provides a unified way to report how a licensee produces, packages, labels, delivers, transports, sells, or disposes of cannabis.

A cannabis tracking system would play a key role in preventing legal cannabis from being diverted into the illicit market and would ensure that illegally-grown product are kept out of the legal supply.

Challenges include lack of staff satellite offices on Tinian and Rota, lack of a designated legal counsel, and the resignation of managing director Monique Sablan and commission chair Nadine Deleon Guerrero.

With additional funding provided through the American Rescue Plan Act and other resources, CCC seeks to establish satellite offices and resources on Tinian and Rota.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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