I am sure I speak for thousands of people who were glad to hear that the Senate has expeditiously passed the cannabis bill. We are only one step away from joining other states in America who came to the realization that legalization is truly in the best interest of all citizens and the state. States that have legalized marijuana have significantly increased the revenues for their government, with only isolated incidents of adverse effects on society. To the six senators who did vote and passed the bill, kudos to you; to the senators who abstained—which was really a no vote—one can only wonder. But for me, if you truly cared enough for the sick people in the CNMI, you would have been more tolerant to allow recreational use just so the sick could have access. Instead, you voted against sick people getting help when you claim to care so much about them. You didn’t care enough as people are living and dying in pain and there is no excuse when 43 states have some form of legal marijuana.
The pressure is now on the governor to sign the bill into law and I’m sure the governor is up to the challenge as he told Guam’s governor that the CNMI would beat Guam to the implementation of legal marijuana for all purposes. The governor may have some concerns but I’m hopeful that none of his concerns will be a deal-breaker. There is also a need for a “companion bill,” which Rep. Joseph Deleon Guerrero has already offered to sponsor, so it is vital that the governor sign the bill to give the representative time to file and process the bill before the year ends. The companion bill will be key to getting the two industries (cannabis tourism and hemp) started, so we still have ways to go before opening the doors of dispensaries. The great thing that citizens should know is that, once the governor signs the bill, you will be free to cultivate your own marijuana in accordance with the laws stated in H.B. 20 -178, so read the law, which will be available on the government’s website. Local growers are urged to start developing your strains through “cloning” as the cannabis tourism industry will be depending upon you to get started!
Thanking you again, senators, as you have done your job and got the bill to the governor’s desk and we can’t ask anymore of you. You have indeed done your part to try and make it rain a better life for the sick and even the overall prosperity and quality of life in the CNMI!
Ambrose M. Bennett