The Tinian nominee for the CNMI Cannabis Commission believes that decriminalizing cannabis is a sensible program that the Commonwealth could benefit from once Public Law 20-66 takes full effect next year.
P.L. 20-66 is the Taulamwaar Sensible CNMI Cannabis Act of 2018, which legalizes the commercial and medicinal use of marijuana.
Lawrence Duponcheel was nominated by Tinian Mayor Joey Patrick San Nicolas to represent the municipality on the CNMI Cannabis Commission. He awaits confirmation by the the Tinian and Aguiguan Legislative Delegation.
“I was born and raised here in the Mariana Islands, and I am deeply passionate about the health and wellbeing of our citizens and the preservation of the culture,” Duponcheel, who is the co-founder of pro-cannabis group Sensible CNMI, told Saipan Tribune.
Matthew Deleon Guerrero and Nadine Deleon Guerrero were nominated by Gov. Ralph DLG Torres as the Saipan representatives, while Northern Islands Mayor Vicente C. Santos Jr. has chosen Valentino Taisacan Jr. The three await confirmation by the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation.
Thomas Songsong of Rota is the first official member of the CNMI Cannabis Commission after being confirmed Thursday during the Rota Legislative Delegation’s session in Sinapalo.
Duponcheel told Saipan Tribune that he is convinced that the people of the CNMI are open to change. “I am completely convinced that the people of the CNMI are…ready to commit to shifting from the wasteful and destructive prohibition policy to a more sensible program of regulating and taxing cannabis for adults and those who may benefit from the plants medicinal qualities,” said Duponcheel.
He wants the commission to strictly implement the cannabis law to the letter, “to develop a program that is sustainable and functional, in terms of protecting and benefiting our communities.”
“I’ve spent much of the last eight years of my life studying and staying up to speed on the evolution of drug laws in our nation, and internationally, paying close attention to the impacts of these laws over time.”
Duponcheel thanked San Nicolas for appointing him to the commission. “With his experience as a former attorney general, the mayor has been acutely aware of the need for sensible criminal justice reforms.”
“I am grateful that he has been supportive of the passage of P.L. 20-66 into law and that he has given me the opportunity to serve on the commission, where I will work to ensure that Public Law 20-66 has a beneficial effect on the Tinian community and it’s economy.”