Guam governor signs bill to legalize cannabis

Cannabis sales in Guam will be imposed with a 15 percent excise tax

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

A bill to legalize cannabis in Guam has been approved, after lawmakers voted in favor of legal weed on Thursday, March 28. Exactly one week later on Thursday, April 4, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero (D) signed the bill, titled “Guam Cannabis Industry Act of 2019” into law. 

Guam’s governor is a longtime supporter of cannabis legalization. She recently met up with Sen. Sen. Clynt Ridgell (D) to talk about the proposal, which Ridgell sponsored.

I think this is something that our island needs right now,” Ridgell said to The Pacific Daily News in a January conversation.

Guam’s cannabis legalization bill received eight votes

Image result for Gov. Lou Leon GuerreroIn order to pass, the bill needed at least eight “yes” votes in the Senate. Fortunately, Guam’s legal cannabis bill received exactly eight votes. Included in those votes were the six cosponsors of the bill. One of the cosponsors who voted “yes” was a Republican.

“The people of Guam can be proud that their elected officials are willing to do the right thing in regards to cannabis policy,” said the political director for NORML, Justin Strekal, during a discussion with Marijuana Moment.

“Lawmakers throughout the United States should take notice and notes,” he continued.

Numerous hearings were organized by the Legislature in the time leading up to the vote. Amendments were made to prohibit cannabis companies from carrying out business duties within 1,000 feet of playgrounds and schools. The bill was also edited to ensure an economic impact study is carried out and to change the allocation of revenues.

Guam is the first place in the U.S. to end cannabis prohibition
(Pictured) Guam on the World map

The passing of Guam’s cannabis bill means that the island territory has gone down in history as the first territory in the United States to end cannabis prohibition in 2019.

Guam’s legal cannabis law permits adults aged 21 and older to consume, grow and buy certain amounts of cannabis from licensed retailers.

Cannabis sales in Guam will be imposed with a 15 percent excise tax. The tax revenue would be used to fund law enforcement, agriculture programs and treatment for substance use disorders.

Another U.S. territory legalized medical cannabis recently

Proposals to fully legalize cannabis have progressed in various places around the U.S. this year. In January, the governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands signed a cannabis bill into law

Guam is preparing to join the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Island, where cannabis was legalized last year. Back in 2014, the island legalized cannabis for medical purposes, making it the first territory to do so.

Prior to the action of Guam’s lawmakers, no other U.S. legislature had delivered a pro-reform cannabis bill to a governor’s desk this year.