Editor’s Note: This letter is being published in two parts due to its length. The fist part was published yesterday.
Last of a two-part letter
Just so senators and readers will know: We can’t use alien workers and there is a real labor challenge in the bill that eliminates many locals and will result in our need to recruit U. S. citizens from the mainland while locals lose out. The bill as written will pretty much force many of the present marijuana growers with a record for pot in the CNMI to remain in the “black market” instead of being entrepreneur cultivators in the cannabis industry.
The bill allows for alcohol and pot to be used in the same public establishments, when pot should be only used in non-alcoholic businesses like coffee shops, as we see in Amsterdam where these vices are kept separate.
The child protection section is weak and there is nothing additional for the airport to make sure tourists don’t leave the CNMI with pot.
The licensing process literally turns the entire industry over to the private sector, which I know is a big mistake from my research in Colorado and there are no real guaranteed checks and balances on the marijuana being grown and sold in dispensaries.
I could go on with some other minor changes that need to be made but I think senators and readers can see this bill needs to be vetted and we surely have the time to do it before November 2018.
Those who are interested in the bill really need to become “active citizens” on this issue and take ownership of this legislation that you will vote on before it is shoved down our throats like the casino, which is what I see is about to happen.
Write letters to the editor and make calls to your senator to put the bill on review for the entire public to consider before it becomes law and a vote. An initiative will also be “locked into law” and not as easy to change or correct as the casino law that is obviously being overhauled due to its flaws. We can fix the bill now but I need your help to help you! Just because Sixto is a senator that does not make him right and I’m sure many readers and people with common sense would rather listen to the advice of the person who is a retired educator and a nationally recognized scholar and researcher along with being a former board member who was paid to research the marijuana issue by the Senate leadership than to believe a former fireman turned politician. Please don’t let this local versus non-local or this “one-heart” thing take center stage that always ends up in the local’s favor because this is one thing that needs to be based on and standing on the merits, not a person’s origins. I knew in my heart the character of senators, especially Sixto, was going to be tested, so this is really another I told you so. When will voters listen and take real action?
Ambrose M. Bennett