An enjoyable little tussle between Guam’s cannabis board and tourist board” is a nice little microcosm of the state of affairs regarding regulated cannabis in many jurisdictions around the world.
The Guam Post reports
Guam’s tourism bureau does not want cannabis use, advertising and sales in Tumon to protect its family-friendly image, but a member of the Cannabis Control Board on Monday said the tourist district has strip bars and massage parlors.
“You know the smell to me of hypocrisy is stronger than the waft of cannabis in the air,” Cannabis Control Board member Adrian Cruz said during Monday’s meeting of the board tasked to roll up Guam’s cannabis industry rules.
The board convened for the first time since the close of the public comment period on the draft 133-page industry rules.
Cruz, the deputy director of the Department of Agriculture, said the COVID-19 pandemic, which halted tourism, reinforced the need to pursue other industries.
“I am not buying it,” Cruz said of GVB’s position. “This pandemic really can show us that we need to diversify…If we don’t evolve, we will perish to our own demise and we have to compete with lots of places in our area with nice beaches and nice things to offer, that are all family-friendly.”
Cruz said one can go down to Tumon and see that it has establishments that don’t match the family-friendly image that GVB is speaking of, such as “strip joints, bars and massage parlors.”
“I applaud (GVB) for sticking to their guns when it comes to cannabis but I don’t hear them complaining about those other businesses. I can guarantee you that taking your clothes off to go into a marijuana establishment is not going to be a selling point as it is for other types of businesses down there. Which is not very family-friendly if you ask me,” Cruz said.
Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center Director Therese Arriola, who is also a member of the GVB board and the Cannabis Control Board, said the visitors bureau wanted its position on record.
She said while she agrees with Cruz on the “other industries” down in Tumon, she said GVB was not testifying on those, but only on cannabis.
“Other than that position, there are other considerations and concerns that the board highlighted,” Arriola said of the GVB board.
Cruz said the Cannabis Control Board’s role is to come up with the rules to regulate Guam’s cannabis industry so Guam doesn’t become “the Wild West.”
Cruz and the rest of the Cannabis Control Board, led by Chairwoman Vanessa Williams, are now reviewing and weighing the written and oral comments and concerns on the bill.