Marianas Variety

Last updateThu, 24 Oct 2019 12am







    Wednesday, October 23, 2019-2:06:25A.M.






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Cannabis commissioners ready to work

FIVE cannabis commissioners are now ready to draft the rules and regulations for the local cannabis industry.

On Friday, the three commissioners from Saipan and the Northern Islands were unanimously confirmed by the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation. They are Matthew Deleon Guerrero, Nadine Deleon Guerrero and Valentino Taisacan Jr. 

The commissioners from Tinian and Rota — Lawrence Duponcheel and Thomas Songsong — have already been confirmed by their legislative delegations.

The commission has 180 days to promulgate rules and regulations for the new industry.

“We can now start the process and…make sure that we can establish an industry that can generate revenues while protecting the community,” said Matthew Deleon Guerrero, the governor’s consultant and chief economist and owner of Hive Analytics. “The commission plays an important role and we’re taking it seriously. We have heard so much from members of the community about their  concerns as well as their hopes and thoughts about how to make it right for the people of the CNMI.  All these comments are part of the process, and they are something that all five  commissioners have talked about — we have a lot of work to do.” 

The Marianas Visitors Authority has expressed concern about the new industry, saying it may affect tourism which is the “bread and butter” of the CNMI.

But Nadine Deleon Guerrero, CNMI Homeland Security external affairs officer, said: “We will work with agencies that may be affected by the new industry. We value our partnerships and intergovernmental collaboration and recognize that harnessing these relationships will only bring success to our mission which is to provide the fairest, most logical set of rules and regulations that will allow  CNMI economic growth and ensure the safety of our community most especially our elderly and the children while also maintaining sensitivity to our cultural values.” 

She said MVA “is one of our strongest partners and they will assist us in achieving our goal —  I personally look forward to working with them in the near future as we draft rules and regulations. It is definitely exciting but we are also cognizant of the fact that there is still so much to do. We also plan on keeping our media partners informed about our progress once we have had a chance to convene after the holidays.”

Valentino Taisacan Jr., who works for the Office of Personnel Management, said they will “do it right.”