One of the drawbacks in opening a cannabis business on Saipan is the requirement to have liability insurance, which no insurance company in the CNMI offers, according to Rep. Edwin K. Propst (D-Saipan).
Speaking during Friday’s House of Representatives session, Propst also raised concern about CNMI’s 60% tax for bringing in hemp cigarettes.
The lawmaker asked the House Committee on Cannabis to look into the two issues that separate constituents have raised with him.
He said a constituent is trying to open up his cannabis business, and that one the hardships he is finding is that tone is required to have liability insurance for this business. That constituent checked all the insurance companies on the island, but there is no insurance company that will do this for cannabis, Propst said.
“This is something that I hope we and the members can address,” he said.
As for the heavy tax on bringing in hemp cigarettes, Propst said it’s being taxed just like cigarettes or tobacco, which is 60%.
“It’s rather high for small businesses that are bringing this in. Hemp is not cannabis, it’s not addictive. It really is a very mild substance. And it’s used to treat anxiety, among other things,” Propst said.
The lawmaker said that taxing hemp at the high 60% rate is not conducive in this tough economy. “And we want to see small businesses grow. Importing this and selling it is really not a bad thing. It’s just like, it’s agricultural and natural. It’s hemp,” he said.
Propst urged the House Committee on Commerce and Tourism, and Cannabis chair Rep. Denita Kaipat Yangetmai (D-Saipan) to address these issues. “I also welcome any comments on that,” he added.