Calvo proposes recreational pot use, 15% sin tax
For pot users, Guam would not just be a sun and sand destination, but a paradise to get high — if a bill proposed by Gov. Eddie Calvo on Tuesday becomes law.
Calvo’s bill submitted to the Legislature proposes to legalize recreational use of marijuana. If it sails through the Legislature, Guam would be the first U.S. territory to legalize recreational pot.
The proposed “Marijuana Control Law” would allow any resident to grow marijuana either for personal use or commercial distribution.
“I am introducing the bill not because I personally support the recreational use of marijuana but as a solution to the regulatory labyrinth that sprouted from the voter-mandated medical marijuana program,” Calvo said.
Guam voters approved a ballot initiative that legalizes medicinal use of marijuana in November 2014. The law restricts marijuana for “debilitating medical conditions” such as epilepsy, HIV, cancer and glaucoma. More than a year since the law’s passage, however, the program has yet to be implemented due to a delay in the promulgation of the rules and regulations by the Department of Public Health and Social Services.
Calvo said the bill, which proposes a 15-percent sin tax on marijuana sale, would not only pave the way for complete implantation of the medicinal marijuana program but would bring revenues to the government as well. Tax revenues from this industry would be pledged for public education programs and campaigns encouraging health lifestyles, for the operation of Guam memorial Hospital.
“The program was well-intended, seeking to provide for patients rather than leaving them in the dark or to the risk of the black market,” Calvo said. “While eliminating the black market is advantageous, the regulatory nightmare that became the medicinal program, would have replaced it with a gray market rife with corruption and cronyism.”
The bill will not affect any of the provisions of the existing medical marijuana law, Calvo said. “Patients with the proper credentials will be able to purchase cannabis products according to the rules and regulations of that program.”
The legal age for recreational use of marijuana would be 21 the same as the legal age for alcohol purchase and consumption.
“We chose this age to be consistent with existing statute on the age the Legislature believes adults have the wherewithal to decide for themselves where to consume mind-altering substances,” Calvo said.