Guam Takes Another Step Toward Medical Marijuana

Governor signs law authorizing issuance of business licenses

By Shawn Raymundo

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, July 17, 2017) – Gov. Eddie Calvo last Friday signed a new law, authorizing the Department of Revenue and Taxation to begin issuing business licenses for the island’s medical marijuana program.

The marijuana program remains stalled for other reasons, however.

Freshman Sen. Joe San Agustin, D-Yigo, introduced Bill 69-34, which lawmakers unanimously passed during session last month. Under the new law, Rev and Tax can issue $1,000 licenses for businesses that intend to cultivate, manufacture, lab test and dispense marijuana.

San Agustin’s measure also states that extending the licensing authority to Rev and Tax would help speed up the license issuing process.

Agustin and co-sponsor Sen. Dennis Rodriguez Jr., D-Dededo,  introduced the measure to address an oversight in the law that authorized the implementation of Guam’s medical marijuana program.

Public Law 220, which Gov. Calvo let lapse into law last December, mandated the Department of Public Health and Social Services to begin accepting business applications 30 days after enactment. The law, however, failed to include Rev and Tax as the agency responsible for processing licenses for potential medical marijuana businesses. Rev and Tax is responsible for other business licenses on Guam.

While a few patients since January  have been certified to possess medical marijuana,lawmakers were told  that business license applicants have been turned away because told the government isn’t ready to accept applications.

rassroots Guam managing partner Andrea Pellacani, a local medical marijuana advocate, says one of the biggest impediments to the program is the lack of business licenses being accepted.

However, Public Health Director James Gillan has repeatedly said the biggest roadblock to the program is the establishment of the marijuana-testing laboratory that’s required under law. Gillan said without a laboratory, there is no program.

“No one has followed through with an application for a lab, and I believe it is because there is no real money to be made due to low volumes that will be tested,” he said.

Pacific Daily News
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