Guam Court Clears Way For Vote On Medical Marijuana

admin's picture

Legislature’s effort to place question on ballot affirmed

By Jerick Sablan

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, August 6, 2014) – The Supreme Court of Guam yesterday cleared the way for voters to decide whether to legalize medical marijuana on Guam.

Justices issued an opinion supporting the Guam Legislature's authority to put the marijuana question before voters at this year's General Election.

The Guam Election Commission had refused to place the question on the ballot, challenging the untested process of "legislative submission," in which the Legislature asks voters to decide whether a bill should become law.

Lawmakers took the matter to the high court, which heard oral arguments Monday and which sided with the Legislature yesterday.

The Legislature wants voters to decide whether to approve the Joaquin "KC" Concepcion II Compassionate Cannabis Use Act of 2013. It would allow for the creation of medical marijuana dispensaries, with rules and regulations to be written later by a government commission.

Election Commission attorney Jeff Cook, who had advised the commission to reject the legislative submission, said he needs to discuss the ruling with the commission board during its scheduled meeting at 5:41 p.m. tomorrow.

The Election Commission previously has said it would move forward with the marijuana vote if the court ruled in favor of the Legislature.

"The Supreme Court has affirmed the Legislature's ability to allow the people to let their voices be heard through the power of their vote on this very important question -- whether patients and their doctors should have the freedom to choose between all available treatment options," said Sen. Tina Muna Barnes, D-Mangilao, who wrote the bill.

Sen. Aline Yamashita, R-Tamuning, and co-author of the act, said it was a good day for the people of Guam.

"Those who suffer from debilitating conditions and their loved ones will have the opportunity to speak out, and I encourage everyone to go out and exercise their right to vote," she said.

In their opinion, justices found that legislative submissions constitute "referenda" within the meaning of the Organic Act and are therefore valid.

Justices also found that the "Joaquin (KC) Concepcion II Compassionate Cannabis Use Act of 2013" is "legislation" submitted to voters within the meaning of "legislative submission" in local law and constituted a "question presented" or "measure" that was properly adopted by the Legislature.

Rate this article: 
Average: 2 (1 vote)

Add new comment