After gaining valuable community input during Wednesday’s public hearing, Speaker Benjamin J.F. Cruz has scheduled another set of hearing dates to continue discussion on Bill No. 8-34—the Governor’s measure to legalize non-medical cannabis use. According to Cruz, the Committee on Appropriations and Adjudication (Committee) will hold its hearings on Thursday, March 16 at 2 p.m. and Wednesday, April 5 at 5 p.m.
“On Wednesday, we heard a range of opinions on cannabis, but one point remained clear: this is a community issue,” said Cruz. “Given the significance of this measure, and its potential impact on the community, I want to make sure the Committee gives everyone an opportunity to voice that opinion before the bill makes session floor.”
If enacted, Bill No. 8-34 would decriminalize the production, sale, and distribution of cannabis while taxing the sale of nonmedical marijuana at 15%. Last month, Governor Calvo submitted the measure to the Legislature as his “solution to the regulatory labyrinth” that resulted from the medical marijuana program.
According to the Governor, the first $40 million collected through the tax would go toward the Guam Memorial Hospital’s operations. Moreover, Bill No. 8-34 would restrict consumption of nonmedical cannabis to those under the age of 21—akin to the Speaker’s longstanding proposal to raise the age of access on tobacco products.
While the Standing Rules of the 34th Guam Legislature only require one public hearing prior to a measure’s submission on session agenda, Cruz noted that—given stakeholders’ suggestions to address specific language in the bill—the community should be given ample time to further deliberate the Governor’s measure.