Despite the legalization of marijuana use in the CNMI, the CNMI Cannabis Commission still wants to retain the Commonwealth’s family-friendly image and, for that, it will need the help of the Marianas Visitors Authority and other community sectors.
Nadine Deleon Guerrero, a member of the CNMI Cannabis Commission, stressed this, saying they intend to work closely with community partners like the MVA in crafting the policies that will be implemented based on Public Law 20-66, the Taulamwar Sensible CNMI Cannabis Act of 2018. Under that law, the commercial, personal and recreational use of marijuana is now legal in the Commonwealth.
“What we as the commission intends on doing is working with every CNMI agency that may be affected or involved with production and the industry,” she said, adding that the commission wants to make sure the CNMI would benefit from the new law, especially on the economic aspect.
The Marianas Visitors Authority, through board chair Marian Aldan-Pierce, earlier said that the new law may affect the CNMI’s image as a family-friendly destination—which the MVA has been aggressively promoting in some of the Commonwealth’s source markets like China, Taiwan, and Japan.
Deleon Guerrero, who, along with Matt Deleon Guerrero, were appointed to the commission to represent Saipan, is allaying those concerns.
“We value partnerships and intergovernmental collaboration, and recognize that harnessing these relationships will only bring success in our mission of providing the fairest, most logical set of rules and regulations that will not only allow the CNMI economic growth,” she said.
She said the commission is looking at crafting rules that will also ensure the safety of the CNMI community, “most especially our elderly and children, while maintaining sensitivity to our islands’ and cultures’ values.”
She said the MVA would be one of the commission’s strongest partners that would help them achieve the goals of P.L. 20-66. “I personally look forward to working with them [MVA] in the near future as we progress toward completion of the commission’s first set of rules and regulations.”
“It is definitely exciting, but we are also cognizant of the fact that there is still so much to do. We plan on keeping our media partners informed on progress once we have had a chance to convene as an official commission, which…won’t be until after the holidays.”
She added the CNMI could benefit from lifting the prohibition on cannabis use. “There are so many facets of what good the commission can bring as far as putting procedures and policies in place that are going to make it good for the CNMI. That is one take that this could do, but I think there’s much more other untouched possibilities of how good this can be for the CNMI.”
The commission’s other members are Valentino Taisacan Jr. (Northern Islands), Lawrence Duponcheel (Tinian), and Thomas Songsong (Rota).
Deleon Guerrero said they would meet after the holidays to discuss the implementing guidelines of P.L. 20-66. “Having that as a pre-requisite on what we need to do now as a commission makes it a lot easier. …We’ve met and the chemistry is good. So far, knowing that this is the kind of people that we’re going to work with makes it a lot easier in terms of getting the policies and procedures promulgated faster.”