DPS says it is neutral on marijuana bill

The Department of Public Safety has no position where it agrees or not with the marijuana legislation offered by Sen. Sixto K. Igisomar (Rep-Saipan).

When asked about DPS’ stand on the cannabis legislation, DPS spokesperson Jacqueline Rae Shepard said Friday that the department as well as many residents are just monitoring as the marijuana bill makes its way through the legislative process.

“Once a decision is reached, DPS will honor and uphold the laws set forth by our lawmakers,” Shepard said. She did not elaborate.

Igisomar’s bill legalizes the recreational and medicinal use of cannabis in the CNMI and creates the cannabis commission to regulate it.

At last week’s meeting, House of Representatives legal counsel John Cool said the intent of the bill is to regulate and legalize the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana—not to generate revenue.

This was Cool’s response to Rep. Blas Jonathan Attao’s (Ind-Saipan) question why the penalties for driving under the influence of cannabis were not omitted from the bill while fees and taxations pertaining to cannabis consumables were.

Cool also replied that the penalties were more of a deterrence rather than a revenue-generating provision.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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