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Torres happy with ‘slow growth’ of marijuana industry

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Despite a seemingly slow growth, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres is happy with that measured progress of the cannabis or marijuana industry in the CNMI, saying this is better for the continued growth and management of this new industry. 

Speaking at a radio news briefing last Friday, Torres said his administration does not want too many companies coming in at once to apply for cannabis licenses and having the CNMI Cannabis Commission board bombarded with enforcement and related matters. 

“I’m happy that we have this slow growth so that we, as a community, as business partners, can grow together in understanding what we need to tweak and help each other to make sure that this industry is successful in the long run,” he said.

The governor thanked the CNMI Cannabis Commission board and its managing director, Monique Sablan, for their “continued vigilance and aggressiveness” in making sure their rules and regulations are promulgated correctly but he also acknowledged that a lot of work still needs to be done.

The governor, however, noted that the fact that there are several interested applicants, that the CNMI Zoning Board also did a hearing on some applicants’ request a couple of weeks ago, and with this COVID-19 pandemic situation, these are very important sign that this industry is on its way to success.

Last month, the CNMI Cannabis Commission and Rep. Janet U. Maratita (R-Saipan) stated that they have seen what they describe as “phenomenal interest” in the cannabis or marijuana industry in the CNMI, but noted that there are some roadblocks due to the Saipan Zoning law that needs to be amended.

The Zoning Board recently approved the applications for cannabis farming for Primo Farms on Capital Hill, Marianas Hemps Farms in As Teo, and Tuu Group LLLC in As Mahetog.

Tuu Group LLC is proposing to renovate and occupy a pre-existing two-story commercial structure in Garapan to operate a cannabis lounge, and to renovate and occupy a portion of a one-story building structure in Garapan to operate a retail establishment. 

Napu Inc. is proposing to rezone a lot in San Vicente from “village commercial” to “mixed commercial” to operate a cannabis retail establishment. 

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com
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