Sen. Sixto Igisomar (R-Saipan) is also looking to decriminalize the personal use of marijuana as the first-term senator wants to shift his focus from legalizing the medicinal use to personal use of marijuana since it is more cost-efficient.
Igisomar is the author of Senate Bill 19-06, which is proposing to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana in the CNMI. The bill, however, has been temporarily shelved as Igisomar is looking to make some revisions on the measure.
Igisomar said he is working to include comments that were gathered during public hearings and the initiatives that he received from pro-personal use groups in the CNMI.
If personal use of marijuana is decriminalized, it would allow people—especially patients that are being treated for ailments like glaucoma and epilepsy—to carry less than an ounce of marijuana. Medicinal marijuana supposedly reduces nausea and vomiting of patients undergoing chemotherapy.
“But anything above that would earn you a citation. If you’re caught with one pound, that’s trafficking. If we clarify these things, there’s a possibility that it might work because you could plant marijuana at home,” said Igisomar.
He added that shifting to personal use would provide more access to people who are sick and in great need of using marijuana. The only concern he’s looking into is how to prevent the uncontrolled selling of medical marijuana.
“We’re looking into making sure we can allow somebody to have a marijuana plant at home so long as they are not trafficking. It is more practical than having a medicinal law legalizing it,” said Igisomar.
“I want it to be practical and at the same time cost-efficient where sick people can have continuous and easy access to cheap medicinal marijuana.”
He said that his medical marijuana bill would allow somebody to have marijuana for medicinal purposes. “But we come to realize that there’s really no other way that they could access that even if we legalize it.”
“Until the marijuana goes through processing in a laboratory and ends up in a pharmacy. That’s the challenge that we saw. We were thinking a simple legalization but by the time we analyze on how the application would be, it turns out that it may not work at all,” said Igisomar.
“So, I did not want to take that chance, continuing to push for something that would be futile in the end and not work. People who are suffering and are sick, for them to be allowed to use marijuana, have the best opportunity for personal use and decriminalization.”