If anything is clear, it is the fact that the Senate is taking legalization very seriously. From what I have witnessed, the Senate and we the people are ready. I have yet to hear of anyone being adamantly against legalization. Just words of wisdom and caution. The Senate and Sen. Sixto Igisomar are off to a great start to completing a bill that we are all hopeful will be the best bill possible. Like many others, we are all anxious to find out what the final version of the bill will be.
The majority are clearly speaking out for legalization and even pushing the Senate to hurry up. There have been a lot of constructive comments and recommendations about the bill and I’m not complaining, just offering constructive criticism.
It was almost three years ago at the first Senate hearing on legalization that two people pleaded for the Senate to expedite the bill so they could have access to the use of marijuana products to relieve their pain and even extend their life. Those two people are now dead! I refuse to let their deaths be in vain nor their words be forgotten. This is serious stuff and there are others in the CNMI who need access to marijuana, so I beg senators and for voters to think about the sick when finalizing this bill. If it’s going to be an initiative, it will be at least another three years before the first dispensaries will open while people continue to suffer and die. Time is no one’s friend on this medical, social and economic issue. The longer we wait, the longer we flounder, helping no one and going nowhere.
I am not the only one who would like to see some changes in the bill. We can always make improvements and this bill is no different—the bill is not ready yet but hopefully the Senate will fix its flaws. I have faith in the Senate. I will be waiting to see what the final bill will entail before making any more comments about it. I just hope the Senate will do as I requested at the public hearing—to conduct some form of an education forum on the final draft, followed by a survey about the bill before they take a final vote, which should assure the Legislature and the governor that the bill is truly the best that can be offered for the CNMI, eliminating any more delays. Thank you, Senate, for taking this bill seriously.
Ambrose M. Bennett