Marianas Variety

Last updateFri, 23 Aug 2019 12am

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    Thursday, August 22, 2019-3:27:37A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Governor weighs in on marijuana legalization, land-lease-extension bills

GOVERNOR Ralph D.L.G. Torres said he has some concerns with the land-lease-extension and marijuana-legalization bills.

Asked for his comments regarding Senate Bills 20-35 and 20-62, Torres said he will sit down with lawmakers before they act on the measures.

 “I know they had a public hearing on the marijuana bill [S.B. 20-62 on Wednesday] night and from what I’ve gathered there was overwhelming support for the bill. The Senate  also went to Rota and Tinian to get some input  from the general public there…. I’ve read the marijuana bill and…I will say this for the record: we should look at both sides of the coin. In the nine states that have legalized  marijuana, have we seen an increase in crime? If there is, what is the nature of these crimes? We should  look at this and other things. I am concerned about public-safety issues.”

As for S.B. 20-35, the governor said he supports its intent which is to extend public-land-lease terms from 40 to 55 years.

“I haven’t actually read the latest amended version of the bill, and I believe it  will still be amended. I am for it, but I have concerns too. We cannot just allow automatic extensions. We need to sit down and negotiate.”

The land leases of some of the island’s major hotels such as the Hyatt and Fiesta Resort are set to expire soon.