Cannabis commission adopts emergency regulations

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(Press Release) — The adoption of emergency rules and regulations for the CNMI Cannabis Commission was unanimously passed during the commission meeting held on March 10, 2020. Pursuant to 1 CMC § 9104(b), the emergency regulations, with concurrence of the governor, will be effective for a period of not longer than 120 days.

Pursuant to Public Law 20-66 and Public Law 21-05, the commission held its organizational meeting in Sept. 2019 to begin the structuring, framework, and promulgation of the CNMI Cannabis Commission rules and regulations. By law, the commission is responsible for prescribing forms and adopt such rules and regulations as the commission deems necessary for the implementation and administration of the Cannabis Act within 180 days after the commission’s organizational meeting.

“The CNMI’s current economic climate calls for revenue generating ideas that can help circumvent the shortfall caused by Covid-19. At the onset of the cannabis legalization in the CNMI — recreational, commercial, and medicinal — investor interest was high. That interest has not faltered and we are thankful we can continue to move into an industry that can help diversify our economy We recognize that each CNMI resident is a stakeholder in the industry whether it be through practicing responsible adult cannabis use or in owning a marijuana related business,” shares CNMI Cannabis Commission Chairwoman Nadine Deleon Guerrero. “Community support is the key component of our success and we continue our efforts to ensure safe, responsible, and educated use. We anticipate the public’s comments and we invite them to do so during the finalization of this process.”

For the foregoing reasons, the commission finds that the public interest requires the adoption of regulations upon fewer than 30 day’s notice. This will enable the Commonwealth to begin receiving cannabis revenues for payment to vital public services.

The emergency rules and regulations govern and regulate the cannabis industry in the CNMI pertaining to the marijuana producers, retailers, processors, wholesalers, and lounges. The emergency regulations also established reserved sections for medicinal marijuana, laboratory licenses, and the processing of edibles, which will be established at a later date by the commission.

“The Commonwealth needs the immediate infusion of financial resources to continue funding public health, safety, and overall welfare of our islands,” shares CNMI Cannabis Commission Managing Director Monique Boyer Sablan. “It is important to note that the emergency regulations are the first phases of the fully constructed procedures, but the commission believes that the current emergency regulations address the immediate and necessary measures to initiate the revenue generating cannabis industry. We are working attentively to ensure our office is ready for operations to be able to meet the needs of potential applicants.”

Although the commission has been working diligently to ensure an immediate jumpstart to the cannabis industry, it has faced many challenges, including financial constraint. The CNMI Cannabis Commission continues to remain steadfast in its mission to regulate the cannabis industry by implementing and administering the laws enabling responsible adult personal use of cannabis and to capture a new revenue stream that contributes towards overall economic progress in the Commonwealth.

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