Guam’s Cannabis Control Board Releases Long Awaited Adult Use Rules

After months of delays, Guam’s Cannabis Control Board has finally released its proposed rules and regulations for adult use cannabis sales. 

The document, which is more than 100 pages long, was expected this April, one year after Guam Governor Lou Leon Guerrero signed into law the Guam Cannabis Industry Act of 2019, a bill to legalize cannabis for adult use. But then, as Cannabis Wire reported, the coronavirus pandemic put the Board’s meetings, and much of Guam’s government, on hold. 

The U.S. island territory already allows adults who are 21 and older to grow six plants at home, and regulators were given one year to provide the framework for licenses and legal sales. The Board began to meet again in July, and wrapped drafting the regulations in August. Still, the proposed regulations have a long road ahead before adult use sales can begin, including a preliminary cost-impact assessment from the Bureau of Budget and Management Research, public hearings, and approval from lawmakers. 

Already, COVID-19 poses yet another threat of delay. With cases on the rise, and Guam under a strict lockdown, the public hearings, which could’ve begun this month, may be on hold for the near term.

The proposed regulations are straightforward. The products allowed include flower, edibles, and concentrates. Licenses will be created for cultivation, testing, product manufacturing, and retail. Each license must be majority owned by a Guam resident who has been a resident for at least three continuous years prior to applying for the license. While there is no language allowing for public consumption spaces, which are allowed in some adult use programs, the definition of a “public place” where cannabis cannot be consumed does not include hotel and motel rooms, which could mean an anticipation of tourism.

Considering the recent focus on equity and justice in the cannabis industry, there could be pushback against language in Guam’s proposed rules that prevents those in decision-making roles within licensed cannabis companies from having been convicted of manufacturing or delivering cannabis (or any substance in Schedules I and II), in any US jurisdiction.

In nearby Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, where a bill to legalize cannabis for adult use was signed into law in 2018, their Cannabis Commission has already begun to accept applications from those hoping to run adult use businesses. This includes, unlike Guam’s proposed regulations, a “Marijuana Lounge License.” On August 2, the governor’s office declared this “the official opening of the Cannabis Industry within the Commonwealth.”

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