Pot bill expects rise of new industry


Sen. Sixto Igisomar’s (R-Saipan) cannabis regulation bill seeks to not only make legal in the CNMI a federally controlled substance, but to allow the CNMI to regulate what is possibly a new industry through a commission.

Besides regulating cannabis, Senate Bill 20-62 SD1 also has a provision that creates the Cannabis Commission.

The commission would be the regulatory agency of the CNMI government and would be headed by nine commissioners: five representing Saipan and the Northern Islands Legislative Delegation with four appointed by the governor and the Northern Islands mayor’s selection of one voter from the Northern Islands; two appointments made by the Rota mayor—subject to the advice and consent of the Rota Legislative Delegation—to represent the first senatorial district; and two appointments made by the Tinian mayor, also subject to the advice and consent of the Tinian Legislative Delegation.

Commission members would serve four-year terms. However, the bill specifies that of the members first appointed, two shall serve a term of two years and three shall serve a term of four years, determined through a lottery at the first meeting of the commission.

The commission has the authority to conduct hearings pertaining to violations of the provisions of S.B. 20-62, such as overstepping the allowed amount of marijuana one may have or giving marijuana to an individual under 21 years old, among many others. The commission also has the authority to conduct hearings on the issuance of licenses to produce, deliver, and possess marijuana for businesses or businessmen.

The commission also has the authority to set up its own rules and regulations. According to the bill, the rules and regulations must at least establish a code of ethics for the commission members; supervise, monitor, and investigate to ensure the suitability and compliance with legal, statutory, and contractual obligations of the owners, operators, and employees involved in marijuana businesses; examine, supervise, and monitor the continuing fiscal and financial capability and transactions of marijuana business owners, operators, etc. to protect the public; and several others.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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