Snails Pace Licensing Process Continues In Guam

The Guam Post reports

The Cannabis Control Board has so far approved 12 responsible official applications for cannabis businesses, but only one is currently anticipated to come before the board next month for the next step in the process: the cannabis establishment license.

Businesses in the middle of the licensing process may be holding back, as they wait for movement on the testing laboratory, according to discussions during Monday’s meeting of the CCB.

A responsible official is a statutory term for a licensed person who represents cannabis-related establishments. These individuals apply for responsible official identification cards, which are approved by the CCB. This is part of a six-step process to obtain a cannabis business license. After obtaining the responsible official identification card, the next step is to apply for a cannabis establishment license.

Before Monday, the CCB had approved responsible official applications for four cultivation facilities, one manufacturing facility, five retail stores and one testing facility. A 12th responsible official application was approved at the meeting Monday.

The Department of Revenue and Taxation is working with one cultivation facility that is nearly ready to submit a cannabis establishment license application, and that may be presented to the CCB in February, according to Craig Camacho, DRT compliance branch supervisor. Otherwise, none have submitted a CEL application, he said. CEL applications were made available by DRT in November 2022.

“Without getting into any specific license, are you coming across any specific challenges or reasons why other applicants or potential applicants haven’t moved forward with their license application yet?” CCB Chair Vanessa Williams asked during Monday’s meeting.

Camacho said he gathered that a lot of the cannabis-related businesses are trying to establish a timeline with the testing laboratory before proceeding with the CEL phase of the process.

No cannabis or cannabis products can be sold on island without being tested for potency and safety by a testing facility licensed by the Department of Public Health and Social Services, per industry rules and regulations.

“Considering the lab has yet to be the one to submit for a CEL, I think a lot of them are, kind of, holding off to see the movement on the laboratory before they process theirs,” Camacho said.

He added that businesses are also trying to ensure that they comply with drug-free zone requirements for their facility locations.

“That takes a lot of market research and probably working with Realtors to ensure that they’re within the compliance of the drug-free zone,” Camacho said.

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