Another US Territory moves towards recreational cannabis legalization

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Guam could become the next US territory to legalize recreational marijuana, writes Calvin Hughes.

Democratic Senator Clynton Ridgell introduced the Guam Cannabis Industry Act of 2019 at the end of last month. If passed, the act would see a regulated market for recreational cannabis established on the island territory, and allow individuals over the age of 21 to possess and consume cannabis in Guam.

Sen. Ridgell's bill has already received broad bipartisan support. And while Guam's Governor Lou Guerrero (D) has yet to express her take on Sen. Ridgell's bill, she had previously voiced her support for the legalization of recreational cannabis in Guam.

If passed, the Act would allow adults 21 and older to:

  • possess up to one ounce of dried cannabis;
  • possess up to eight grams of cannabis concentrates;
  • grow up to six plants (only three of which are allowed to be mature at any given time); and
  • gift up to the maximum possession amounts of dried and concentrated cannabis.

Sen. Ridgell's bill comes five years after Guam moved to legalize medical marijuana. However, due to a lack of testing facilities on the island, actually getting medical marijuana in Guam continues to be a challenge for many patients. Many Guamanians who are medical marijuana patients rely upon home cultivation since they can't dependably purchase their medication. As recreational cannabis will also be subject to labratory testing before being accepted for sale, introducing a recreational cannabis market may improve access to cannabis for patients as well.

"I think this is something that our island needs right now," Sen. Ridgell said of cannabis legalization in Guam, pointing to the positive effect it would have on both Guam's local and tourism economies.

If the Guam Cannabis Industry Act of 2019 comes into law, it would make Guam the second US territory to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes following the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands' legalization of the substance last year.

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