Torres expects cannabis bill amendment this week

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres is expecting the long-awaited cannabis bill amendment to arrive at his desk this week after the Legislature passed the bill last Aug. 2.

Torres noted in an interview yesterday that, as of publication, Rep. John Paul Sablan’s (R-Saipan) House Bill 21-13 has yet to land on his desk. But after reportedly consulting the Office of the Attorney General on Monday, Torres noted that he will be receiving the bill for review this week.

“…I just spoke to the attorney general [Monday] and I am confident that, based on the attorney general, I should be receiving the [cannabis adjustment] bill this week,” he said.

Torres said he has yet to look at the bill but noted that he is looking forward to enacting the legislation.

“…If things go well, I will be signing it probably [next] Monday,” he said, adding that his office will be inviting both chambers of the Legislature and the members of the Commonwealth Cannabis Commission before he enacts the legislation.

“…I hope that we can move forward with this legislation…and start promulgating rules and regulations and get our feet off the ground,” he said.

The bill, when signed, gives the cannabis commissioners—Matt Deleon Guerrero, Nadine Deleon Guerrero, Valentino Taisakan, Lawrence Duponcheel, and Thomas Songsong—six months to come up with regulations for the industry.

The commission representatives consist of three representing Saipan and one each for Rota and Tinian.

According to author Sablan, the clock starts ticking for the cannabis commission once they formally convene for the first time.

“…But nothing stops the commission from promulgating the rules before six months,” he told Saipan Tribune in a previous interview, while adding that he prefers if the commissioners “take their time” when coming up with the new regulations.

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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