It is clear the governor of Guam is leading on the cannabis legalization issue because he knows it is serious for the sick and worth about hundreds of millions in dollars over time. Gov. Calvo even previously offered legislation that was rejected but he continues to fight for what is the right thing to do. More than anything Gov. Calvo’s admonition prove that the CNMI is in competition with Guam and even Hawaii when it comes to full legalization, like I said over four years ago.
Given the looming potential for Guam to beat us in creating a cannabis industry, I must ask that famous question: “What you gonna do, senators?” This is not meant to be disrespectful but I have to ask what is taking so long because I am really tired of people asking me what is holding up the cannabis bill. One really can’t blame people for asking, given that we are working on the fourth year in dealing with what has become a straightforward and very acceptable issue. Other states are running and leaping to legalize cannabis while we are still crawling like a snail, staying true to the “dead last” record we continue to set when it comes to implementing national reforms.
I thought we were on a good pace to get it done this year, especially after the AG interceded to let the Senate know they need to either make it a bill or start all over with a petition drive. I think most people who are knowledgeable about legalization thought this would speed up the process and not slow it down because there is really no rational reason to start over with a petition drive, given the high level of acceptance for legalization in the CNMI. I can’t reiterate it enough that people are living with pain and literally dying, never to have access to marijuana and marijuana products, which was the main reason the legalization bill was first drafted. Now, it has become a political football, with more Senate hearings that we do not need. For me, if Sen. Sixto is not going to drive the car, then he should at least withdraw the bill and get out of the way so someone else can do it for the people and the CNMI.
What are you waiting for, as there has been enough back-and-forth on this issue and the longer we wait the longer it will be for progress to take hold as it will still take over a year to get the cannabis industry up and running.
The great thing about legalization is there are virtually no more sound arguments against it, as all the myths and opposition claims have been debunked scientifically. I am respectfully asking the Senate to please stop playing politics and perform the overdue deed of legalizing marijuana and please don’t forget the important measures I suggested:
1. Make sure locals get good career jobs with the opportunity for entrepreneurship.
2. Don’t forget the government controls that will also allow for an easy creation of the cannabis industry in “partnership” with a laboratory. In fact, Guam is now stalled at the laboratory phase for creating their medical legalization and no idea about how they will supply their industry.
3. Don’t forget the “amnesty period” so we won’t be like Guam, with no idea or means of how the industry “strains” will be developed and supplied with marijuana, as this is a “self-starting industry” and we must start with the marijuana we have in the CNMI that needs to be “organized.”
Ambrose M. Bennett