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    Saturday, December 7, 2019-4:44:58A.M.






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Delays frustrate Guam company interested in marijuana cultivation

HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) — A local businessman, David Cruz, attended the Cannabis Control Board meeting Tuesday afternoon at the governor’s office in Adelup.

He announced that the company he represents has leased a facility to grow marijuana and the business is ready to get started, as soon as the rules and regulations are completed.

“Are you guys willing to do what you can to stand up the program?” Cruz asked. He added, “it seems like it’s going to take a long time and you’re going to run the companies’ resources dry by the time that they can even get going.”

Cruz said his company is ready to turn in an application for a cultivator’s license. “We were just wondering whether you guys were just going to sit around or are we going to get this thing going?” he asked.

Cruz said the warehouse his company has leased has a fire suppression system, the business followed all the guidelines and has a seed-to-sale computer tracking system in place.

When asked for further details about his company by The Guam Daily Post, Cruz declined to name the company he represents or what position he holds in the company. Sitting beside him was attorney Tom Fisher who said he was just a friend and not the legal representative for the company.

Seed-to-sale system key

Board members Tuesday said that the need for a computerized seed-to-sale system is critical to the success of the recreational marijuana program. The lack of funds to purchase it may delay implementation of the recreational marijuana law.

The system is needed to enforce regulations, collect taxes and verify product quality. The system keeps track of each cannabis plant from its seedling to its sale and helps prevent the illegal diversion of marijuana.

Cannabis Control Board member Lynda DeNorcey, director of the Department of Public Health and Social Services, also doubles as the chairwoman of the Medical Cannabis Regulation Commission.

She told the control board Tuesday the same thing she told the regulation commission last Friday. Her request for $750,000 in funding for the medical cannabis program, which included a seed-to-sale computer system, was left out of the 2020 spending plan, Bill 186-35, which is being considered in the Guam Legislature.

The recreational marijuana law requires a seed-to-sale system, but it doesn’t require a computerized system, it could be manual. But board members Tuesday generally agreed that the cost for the manpower to run a manual system would be prohibitive.

Board members suggested that licensing fees could be used to purchase the system, but that would require hundreds of applicants to cover the cost which DeNorcey in her budget request estimated could be as much as $125,000.

Cruz offered to have his company purchase the software for the government in return for a discount on the licensing fees.

Cannabis Control Board Chairwoman Vanessa Williams, an attorney, said the attorney general would have to weigh in on the legality of that offer, “but my guess is that’s not legal,” she said.

“We’re a local business,” said Cruz and the objective should be “to keep the money here locally.” He said the more time it takes to establish the program “it will allow outside businesses to come in” and his company would face a deficit and drown in debt.

“I don’t think that’s a fair statement,” said William because “no outside businesses are coming in because we don’t have the rules and regulations.”

Williams acknowledged the control board is probably not going to reach its goal of having all the rules and regulations for the recreational marijuana program done by September. The revised target date is now October.