Interisland transport of marijuana: Legal or not? OAG opinion sought


The CNMI Cannabis Commission and the Office of the Attorney General are still doing research whether or not the interisland transport of marijuana in the CNMI is federally illegal or allowed.

Cannabis commission managing director Monique Sablan told the Senate Committee on Cannabis and Gaming last week that they are currently talking with an OAG lawyer who is doing the research to figure out or provide them the necessary guidance on that issue.

This was Sablan’s response after Senate vice president Jude Hofschneider (R-Tinian) asked whether the commission has OAG’s guidance on the issue since Tinian, Rota, and Saipan are surrounded by waters that are, to an extent, federally regulated.

While the OAG is doing its research, the commission is also doing its own study, Sablan said. “I believe Alaska has the same issue as we do. So we’re trying to figure out how are other jurisdictions tackling this because, let’s say Washington and Oregon, they’re separated by land mass; they’re separated by a border. Us, we’re separated from Tinian and Rota by bodies of water that are federally regulated to an extent,” she said.

Sablan is hoping to be able to provide an update at their next Senate presentation. “We are also waiting. We are also consulting with Customs as well to see what their regulations are and I will give you a better answer, sooner or later,” she told the senators.

In her presentation before the Senate, Sablan said the commission has received 12 applications for commercial while 11 others have expressed interest.

Committee chair Sen. Vinnie F. Sablan (Ind-Saipan) called the meeting to discuss matter relevant to the CNMI Cannabis Commission’s operations.

The enactment of Public Law 20-66, the “Taulamwaar Sensible CNMI Cannabis Act of 2018,” authorized personal, medicinal, and commercial use of cannabis or marijuana in the CNMI.

Sen. Sixto K. Igisomar (R-Saipan), who was one of the main authors of the cannabis law, believes the commercial aspect of the new industry “will happen no matter what,” so he encourages the Commission to give more focus on the law’s medicinal aspect to help people who are suffering debilitating illnesses or have cancer.

At the same Senate meeting, former House speaker Joseph P. Deleon Guerrero, who is the special adviser for cannabis under the Office of the Governor, has revealed the many challenges facing the commission and the industry such as the importation of marijuana seeds.

Deleon Guerrero said the Cannabis Act has provisions that are confusing and problematic.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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