Guam Eventually Set to Accept Adult-Use Cannabis License Applications

You could say that this process has been happening on island time…

The Pacific Daily News reports

The Department of Revenue and Taxation on Aug. 29 will start accepting applications from “responsible officials” for the island’s recreational cannabis industry, which is the first step before cannabis businesses and their employees can be licensed and permitted to operate.

Although the goal is for government regulatory agencies to have the other cannabis industry application processes and forms ready by that date, “We will not be able to entertain the licensing applications,” Rev and Tax Director Dafne Mansapit Shimizu said during Monday’s meeting of the Cannabis Control Board.

The board, which has been discussing the process for starting the island’s recreational cannabis industry, plans to meet at least once more before Aug. 29, which is when Guam law requires the government to start accepting cannabis industry applications.

A meeting date has not been set, but will be announced later, according to board Chairwoman Vanessa Williams.

The April 2019 law, which legalized recreational cannabis on Guam states the government must start accepting applications from cultivators, manufacturers, testing labs and retailers no later than 90 days after the rules and regulations took effect, which was May 29.

It currently is legal for eligible adults to grow, possess and consume cannabis, but it is illegal to sell it or trade it for anything of value unless it is a licensed and permitted cannabis business.

Shimizu said Rev and Tax plans to make the “responsible official” application forms available before the Aug. 29 application date.


Rev and Tax is working on flow charts so the public can better understand the application processes, but here are the general requirements:

  • Only a “responsible official” approved by the Cannabis Control Board can submit applications, documents and reports for a cannabis business, including applying for an establishment license and a permit to operate.
  • A responsible official must be at least 21 years old, must own the business or be responsible for operating the business, and cannot be convicted of manufacturing or distributing Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substances, except for marijuana.
  • The responsible official is accountable for any actions by the business owners, officers, managers, employees or agents that violate the recreational cannabis law or the industry rules and regulations.
  • It costs $1,000 to apply to be a responsible official, the rules state.

The next step is for the responsible official to apply for a cannabis establishment license, which also must be approved by the Cannabis Control Board.

Licenses are for cultivation, manufacturing, testing and retail stores. The rules prohibit owning or operating more than one type of cannabis business.

To get a permit to operate, businesses must have a cannabis establishment license, submit site plans and floor plans for the business site, and obtain clearances from government regulatory agencies such as the Department of Public Works, Guam EPA, the Guam Fire Department, the Guam Waterworks Authority, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Public Health and Social Services.

The business also must be inspected by Rev and Tax before the agency can issue a permit to operate.


Some questions still have not been answered, including whether GovGuam will be able to use banks for the money it collects from the cannabis industry, including application fees and taxes.

Although cannabis is legal in Guam, it still is illegal under federal law, which limits the ability of banks to handle cannabis-related money.

“My understanding is that the banking and insurance commissioner, although she has had meetings with the banking industry and stakeholders, she still is working to engage with them to determine how the banking piece can move forward,” Shimizu said.

Shimizu said GovGuam officials have met several times with representatives of Washington state’s liquor and cannabis board, who have offered to help Guam start the island’s cannabis industry.

“They’ve been in this maybe seven years or so,” Shimizu said. “For us to try to do it on our own without having their help would be very difficult… so we’re excited that we have the opportunity to partner with them.”

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