You don’t have to be a philosopher or prophet to see that marijuana is here to stay forever and that we will have to deal with it forever. It also doesn’t take a lot of wisdom to know that one day we are going to have to learn how to live with marijuana without sending people to jail as that would go on forever! It should really be obvious that times have changed in regards to the spread of legalization and that the vast majority of Americans and Islanders are in favor of legalization. FYI readers, the legalization movement in America was started by the last President when he asked America in a public statement to “reform our criminal justice system and stop locking up people for using marijuana, especially our youth.” There have been so many states to follow the President’s advice and leadership that it should be obvious to the average citizen that legalization is just a matter of time for all of America, including the CNMI.
People are saying why I am promoting a legislative act instead of an initiative. I was active against the casino because of public and church concerns which were expressed twice by voting it down. Well we dragged around with the casino for over a decade and I even contributed to the delay—but I will share the lesson I learned from that experience which was “you can’t avoid the inevitable just delay it”—legalization is an inevitable fact so we can deal with it all now or continue to flounder like fools with delaying actions like an Initiative. But unlike the casino issue there is no real public out-cry against legalization or they would have been recognized in the first Senate hearings two years ago. If there were outright protest against legalization then I would agree that an Initiative would be more proper and fitting but that is not the case in the CNMI when over 21 percent of the population uses marijuana according the statistic stated in the last Senate hearing. If voters truly protest for their right then it should be given but I don’t see any protest other than the lone individuals who don’t like me in the comment section who don’t even count as they represent .0000001 percent of the population.
There is also the fact that the creation of a cannabis industry is an “economic venture” and it doesn’t take an economist to know that “the early bird gets all the worms” figuratively (the first business in a new industry are the winners) the rest get the leftovers. The CNMI is in a competition for the cannabis tourism market for this entire region of the world and “time is not out friend” on this as Guam and Hawaii are already a step ahead of us and the CNMI is literally playing “catch-up” as we are far behind them. It should also be noted that an Initiative will take another year and a half and if it passes it will still take another year to grow the strains and start the industry as we don’t have the resources of a Colorado, Oregon, or Washington. So we can play “political football” or we can get it done—I’m for getting it done now! On a final note: the people I talk to are saying “why can’t they just do it like they did the casino” and I would like to believe they represent the majority who are clearly outspoken for a legislative act. Voting will only make this a political football with no win for the people if Guam and Hawaii beats us to the cannabis tourism market for this Pacific Region—the legislative act will be a win for the CNMI!
As for the government interventions that I have recommended to be incorporated into the bill, marijuana policy experts have long indicated that the lack of adequate “government controls” has been and will continue to be the major dynamic that will constantly threaten the operations and the accountability of the businesses and individuals in the cannabis industry. So get informed about what I recommended before you start complaining and attacking the messenger or you will have missed the most important thing “the message!” I doubt if any citizens have even read the cannabis act and my recommendations are also a matter of public record so read for yourself and I’m sure most people with common sense will agree with the rational that I presented.
Ambrose M. Bennett