Guam Community Weighs In A Marijuana Legalization Proposal

Governor believes full legalization will be more effective than regulating medical marijuana

By Shawn Raymundo

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Feb. 15, 2017) – Members of Guam’s community Wednesday evening weighed in on Gov. Eddie Calvo’s measure to legalize and tax marijuana on island for recreational adult use.

The Legislature’s Committee on Appropriations and Adjudication heard testimony from government officials, stakeholders and residents on Bill 8-34, which treats the drug similar to alcohol by allowing only those 21 years and older to purchase marijuana from a licensed distributor.

“For decades, the use and sale of cannabis has been illegal, its illicit use frowned upon as a harbinger of the moral decay of our society,” Gov. Calvo’s written testimony stated, as read by Adelup special assistant Eric Palacios.

While Guam’s medical pot program is getting implemented under the Joaquin “KC” Concepcion II Compassionate Cannabis Use Act, Calvo has proposed the drug’s full legalization as a way of addressing the government’s estimated high cost to regulate the medicinal industry.

“The law is meant to provide order and to protect life and property,” Calvo added. “So if the people discern that an adult’s use of cannabis, causing no harm or inconvenience to the life or property of another, is within the order of society, then prohibition now is unconnected to the meaning of the law.”

Belinda Snyder, a former school teacher and Piti resident, spoke at length against the bill, stating that legalizing marijuana is inorganic to Guam law and would eventually prompt the federal government to file a lawsuit against the territory.

“I am a taxpayer, and I can say in the future the government might be sued for even allowing such a bill,” she stated.

Snyder was also critical of the effects of marijuana on a user, believing it “hinders one’s functional, psychological and whole aspect of an individual,” and would later lead to criminal activity.

“Their vision is being blurry, feeling high, speech slurs, psychological, relaxed or violent and temperament, to the point of harsh crimes being committed over a period of time,” she said.

Major Philip Taijeron Jr., acting chief of the Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency, also testified Wednesday to explain that the department would have to increase certain security aspects of its daily operations.

“There will be increased effects on Canine Detection Teams at the border that are trained to detect marijuana or cannabis,” Taijeron said. “The increasing legal allowances for the consumption of cannabis will increase the frequency of detector dog alerts to passengers, baggage, cargo, mail and other merchandise.”

Pacific Daily News
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