Saipan Select: 1st cannabis retailer in the CNMI now open

Posted on Jul 19 2021


From left: Budtender Victoria Diaz, retail manager/owner Chris Cook, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, assistant retail manager Brenda Villagomez, and business shareholder Clyde Norita at the grand opening of Saipan Select first cannabis retail in the CNMI in Tanapag last Friday. (Contributed Photo)

Saipan Select, the very first cannabis retailer in the CNMI, is now open at its location along Route 30 in Tanapag.

The store officially opened its doors to the public last week with the aim of bringing to the community safe and easy way to get cannabis and cannabis-related products.

The company received its license on July 14 and did not dilly-dally getting to work right away. According to business shareholder Clyde Norita, Saipan Select holds two licenses from the Cannabis Commission. “The first license is a Class C production license, which means we can produce and cultivate marijuana up to 5,000 square feet and do wholesale. Our farm is in a warehouse behind our shop. …Our second license is retail, which gives us authorization to sell,” he said. “The way we set the business is that 60% of our business is going to sell wholesale to other retailers and other lounges that are licensed by the Cannabis Commission and sell to customers who drive by the shop.”

Saipan Select had a soft opening last Wednesday where guests came by invitation and the its grand opening last Friday. The shop is conveniently located by the road, parking is available and. once you enter, a big counter awaits you where you can do your transaction fast if you already know what strain to get.

If you are undecided, you can take your time as there are tables and chairs available where you can sit down and look at a menu of products or “strains” available at the shop. Saipan Select is allowed to sell retail—cannabis not over 1 ounce per customer. Pricing depends on the kind of strain.

Types of strains currently on the menu are: Wedding Cake or “Fina’mames,” Girl Scout Cookies or “Rota Buds,” Purple Punch or “Taga Stoned,” Bruce Banner or”Taima’nao,” Lemon Sour Diesel or “Forte,” OG Kush or “Marianas Trench,” White Widow or “Chagi Nori,” Lemon Haze or “Ma SUFA” and Blue Dream or “Dudus Girl.”

“As a producer, we plant what we see has potential and then as we further our business, we plan to produce more various strains. …On the retail side, a menu is available, which is a list of cannabis in different strains. We have kept the actual names lifted from, an authority on different cannabis strains but gave it a local name for the purpose of the people in the CNMI. Also, it is something to make them smile when they read it,” Norita said.

“The drying and curing part is really the critical part for the cannabis and we always want to achieve the highest [quality]. …We know that our customers are connoisseurs on this and so we want to make sure that we give them the top-grade, top-shelf cannabis and strains because these guys know what they want,” Norita added.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, who was one of Saipan Selects’ visitors last Friday for the grand opening, enacted in 2018 the Cannabis Act of 2018, decriminalizing the use of marijuana and legalized its recreational and commercial use.

“I congratulate Saipan Select which is owned by reputable people in the community. …There has been a lot of consideration put into signing this bill and I would like to thank the author and the Legislature who supports this industry. I look forward that it will become a very successful industry,” Torres said. “At the same time, I also caution everybody to please use it the right way. Respect the community, the occasion. …I encourage others members of the community to venture into this but follow the law and procedures of the Cannabis Commission.”

Norita said that part of their public service is reminding customers to follow the law. “When they come to the store to buy, they have to prove that they are 21 years of age and have a valid government identification card. …We remind them that there are some conditions like you cannot smoke it in the beach or public park, near schools, churches etc. …We tell them to be sure to smoke in the privacy of your own home. …We know our customers know the law but we just help refresh their knowledge. …We sell to everyone—whether local residents or tourists—but consumption must only be here in the CNMI as they cannot take it outside.”

Saipan Select is open Monday to Sunday from 10am to 10pm. For more information, call (670) 488-BUDS. They are also on Facebook and Instagram: saipanselect.

Bea Cabrera | Correspondent
Bea Cabrera, who holds a law degree, also has a bachelor's degree in mass communications. She has been exposed to multiple aspects of mass media, doing sales, marketing, copywriting, and photography.

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