The departments of Public Safety, Commerce, and Lands and Natural Resources and the Professional Licensing Board are being eyed to be part of a proposed Medicinal Marijuana Council in the CNMI.
Sen. Sixto Igisomar (R-Saipan) said he has already informed DPS, Commerce, and DLNR about the proposed council.
“But I have not yet reached out to the Licensing Board,” Igisomar said, adding that he finalized a draft version of the medical marijuana bill last week.
Igisomar has introduced Senate Bill 19-06, a bill proposing to legalize the medical use of marijuana in the Commonwealth. The proposed bill also mandates the creation of a marijuana council.
In an earlier meeting, Igisomar was set to ask the joint Senate and House committees on Health and Education for a public hearing on the proposed bill, but decided to call it off to allow him more time to study the proposed bill and gather more information.
The Senate, meanwhile, has set the first public hearing on a proposed medical marijuana bill on Rota on Wednesday. It will be the first public hearing on the proposed bill.
Igisomar said he expects Rota residents to ask questions regarding the regulation, cultivation, and retail consumption of qualified patients.
“I believe the talks will revolve around these areas,” Igisomar said, adding that he has included a few more amendments to the proposed bill that addresses concerns such as regulatory safety nets that will be put in place.
The lawmaker said he hopes to answer questions such as who is going to regulate the cultivators and the distributors, and who is going to receive the treatment.
There will be two public hearings on Rota, followed by three to four hearings on Saipan and one on Tinian. “My timeframe is to have the hearings by March,” he said.
Igisomar said he has been receiving “a lot of positive feedback” on the medicinal use of marijuana from residents seeking an alternative approach to costly medical treatments, particularly patients suffering from debilitating diseases.
He said cancer patients often ask for the availability of alternative treatments that are not as expensive as chemotherapy.