Sablan: Effective enforcement needed to reap benefits of a cannabis industry


A Saipan senator believes effective enforcement is paramount to reap the benefits of a cannabis industry in the CNMI , even as the CNMI Cannabis Commission nears its third and final leg of writing the regulations that would govern the new industry.

Sen. Vinson Sablan (Ind-Saipan), who chairs the newly created Senate Committee on Cannabis and Gaming, told Saipan Tribune yesterday that he believes effective enforcement must be paramount once the regulations are all completed.

“I’m glad the commission has been hard at work meeting regularly to complete the regulations. There is a lot work ahead of us and it’s imperative that we cover all angles of the industry,” he said in a statement to Saipan Tribune.

“After all regulations are complete, we must ensure effective enforcement. That has always been a challenge in our government; nonetheless, it is vital that the industry is properly enforced from the inception of the regulations so we can see the potential benefits of this new industry,” he added.

Sablan sat with the Cannabis Commission last Nov. 25, 2019, in a committee meeting session for a rundown on the progress of the cannabis regulations.

“The homegrown regulations have been completed and the commercial regulations are progressing. I’m hoping that the commercial aspect of the industry can provide for and at least supplement the operations of the commission to enforce all aspects of the regulations,” he said.

The Cannabis Commission is tackling the cannabis regulations in three chunks: the homegrown regulations, the commercial regulations, and the medicinal regulations.

Saipan Tribune confirmed with Cannabis Commission chair Nadine Deleon Guerrero that the commission is about halfway through the regulations; she noted in a previous interview that the homegrown regulations have already been submitted to the Office of the Attorney General for legal sufficiency review and that they are about halfway through the commercial regulations.

In the same interview, Deleon Guerrero noted that the medicinal aspect of the regulations might be the most problematic since it deals with the use of cannabis in a medical environment.

Sablan said as much when asked for comments on the Cannabis Commission’s presentation last week.

“The medicinal side of the regulations…will be [the] most challenging to complete,” Sablan said. “There are a lot of technical aspects to consider such as the operation of a cannabis laboratory and the dispensing of the proper cannabis dosages to patients.”

Deleon Guerrero told Saipan Tribune in a previous interview that there are interests in opening up a laboratory for cannabis testing but that only one of a few other possibilities with the new industry.

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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