FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 8, 2018
Contact: Violet Cavendish
Statements below from Sensible CNMI, which advocated for the legislation, and the Marijuana Policy Project, the nation’s largest marijuana policy organization
The Northern Mariana Islands House of Representatives approved a bill Wednesday to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult and medical use. It now heads back to the Senate, which approved a similar proposal in May.
H.B. No. 20-178, sponsored by Rep. Joseph Deleon Guerrero (R-Saipan), was approved 18-1-1 in the House. A detailed overview of the bill is available on the Marijuana Policy Project's website. In summary, the legislation:
The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands would be the first U.S. territory to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use. Such laws have been adopted by voters in eight states: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Lawmakers in Vermont and voters in D.C have adopted laws making marijuana possession and cultivation legal for adults, but not regulating commercial production or sales.
Statement from Gerry Hemley, co-founder of Sensible CNMI:
“The true essence of legalization has always been about having safe and legal access to cannabis without fear of arrest and harassment. This thoughtful legislation will control, regulate, and tax marijuana in a manner that is similar to alcohol. It was carefully crafted to improve public health, protect children, and keep our communities safe. We hope senators will join their House colleagues in supporting this commonsense measure.”
Statement from Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project:
“We applaud CNMI legislators for keeping this important legislation alive and moving it forward. Taking marijuana off the illegal market and regulating its production and sale will improve public health and safety. Patients with debilitating conditions who could benefit from marijuana deserve steady access to quality-controlled medicine. The Senate now has a chance to make history by signing off on the bill and sending it to Gov. Torres.”
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Founded in 1995, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) is the nation’s leading cannabis policy reform organization. MPP has played a central role in passing dozens of cannabis policy reforms in states across the country, including 10 successful cannabis legalization campaigns, and also works to advance federal reforms.