21 December 2016
The Guam Post reports….
“We’re talking about cutting what would be red tape and concerns about funding for required enforcement on the new marijuana legislation that became law. I want us to look at how states navigated into recreational marijuana; let’s figure it out and then tax the heck out of it and use those taxes to help fund our hospital, public safety and education.” – Gov. Eddie Calvo in a Facebook post
In a statement posted on social media, Gov. Eddie Calvo reported discussions with senior staffers concerning the legalization of recreational marijuana for Guam.
“We’re talking about cutting what would be red tape and concerns about funding for required enforcement on the new marijuana legislation that became law,” Calvo said in the Facebook post. “I want us to look at how states navigated into recreational marijuana; let’s figure it out and then tax the heck out of it and use those taxes to help fund our hospital, public safety and education.”
The Facebook post followed a statement released from the governor on Friday about Calvo vetoing Bill 344-33, the measure that would have added provisions for home cultivation of medical marijuana to existing laws. Calvo indicated several issues he had with the provisions that he said would have “(imposed) new and different duties upon our health and law enforcement agencies that (would) deplete their already strained resources.”
Governor spokeswoman Oyaol Ngirairikl told the Post that Calvo had been meeting with senior staffers to discuss how Guam might go about implementing recreational marijuana following states which had similarly transitioned from medical to recreational marijuana laws.
Looking to states’ example
Ngirairikl said discussions during yesterday’s meeting focused on how those states had reported the ease with which recreational marijuana was regulated as compared to medical marijuana, which necessitates a slew of additional rules and regulations that law enforcement agencies must cope with to ensure compliance. Further, she reported that preliminary estimates conducted by staffers showed the cost of complying with and enforcing provisions stipulated in the language of Bill 344 as high as $8 million. As such, she said the governor was interested in pursuing what could be potential legislation that would legalize recreational marijuana as both a cost-saving and revenue-generating measure.
Sen. Tina Muña-Barnes said in an email that she and her colleagues would be pushing for an override of Bill 344 in light of Calvo’s veto.
In response to the veto, she stated, “(W)hen we begin looking at patients as criminals, that is when we miss the point of medicinal use of cannabis. The government should not stand in the way of a person trying to access medical cannabis to alleviate their suffering. When a patient is on their last leg on earth, let them access this safer alternative safely and privately so they can pass in dignity.”
While she continued to criticize the governor’s veto of the home cultivation measure, she said she was pleased to hear that the governor was looking into taxing and the regulation of marijuana as a means of funding medical marijuana programs, and that she looks forward to seeing how Calvo’s administration plans to do so.