Zero arrest for marijuana possession from 2019 to 2022


From 2019 to 2022, which covers the period when marijuana was legalized in the Commonwealth, there has been zero arrest or detainment for possession of marijuana.

In a presentation about the CNMI Cannabis Commission and the cannabis industry before the House Committee on Cannabis, managing director Monique Sablan disclosed Tuesday that, based on information she received from the Department of Corrections, three people were arrested and detained for possession of marijuana in 2015 or before the marijuana legalization.

She said she truly believes that the zero arrest has a lot to do with the commission’s part in ensuring that law enforcement officers are fully aware of the penalties and fines as specified in the Cannabis Act for non-licensing related crimes such as smoking in the presence of a minor, importing or exporting marijuana, use of marijuana while driving, and unlawful delivery of marijuana.


Marijuana trafficking has a fine of up to $40,000 and 10 years of imprisonment.

“So they’re very hefty fines, very lengthy imprisonment terms and we want to ensure that our officers who are leading the frontlines are very aware,” Sablan said.

Sablan said she conduct the Cannabis Act enforcement training in conjunction with Chief Prosecutor Chester Hinds from the Office of the Attorney General Criminal Division.

She said they tried to do this presentation for law enforcers back in 2020, but with the COVID-19 protocols, they were not able to reach the audience.

“The Cannabis Act is very specific. It says that we need to work together, which is what we’re trying to do in this cannabis enforcement training—to establish educational resources for our law enforcement frontliners,” she said.

Sablan said they are doing their first two rounds of training session with DPS frontline officers and supervisors on March 17 and 18, and they are also looking at working with the Drug Enforcement Task Force. This April, they’re focusing mainly on the frontliners of the Division of Customs.

Sablan said they will be focusing on Tinian and Rota in May.

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
Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.