Epitaph of CNMI’s democracy | 94 & 95: Solution to thinking outside the box; I told you so GOP — the Cannabis Mess

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AS you can see, one must truly think outside the box to resolve this challenge of only using four lines with four moves to connect the nine dots. So if you could never get outside the box with your lines then you need to practice on thinking “BEYOND and ABOVE” your normal thoughts which are “inside the box.”

Solving this actually requires the two skills of “analytical & critical thinking” which many teachers are challenged everyday with teaching our youth how to do. I actually HELPED the General Public with this because my students didn’t have the dotted line of a box to help guide their thinking as it is even harder without the dotted lines. Hope readers can appreciate the test because it shows what we are up against in fighting this virus and the kind of thinking needed to beat it.

Cannabis

The recent press release by the Cannabis Commission was more of a “set-up to rationalize their FAILURE to get the industry up and running.” There was only one sentence about a laboratory, which is the KEY to the opening for business and the idea that these licenses are going to be real revenue injections was just GOP “whitewashing the legalization issue to make it sound good and gaslighting to make people think they are really going to generate revenues.” But I will commend the Commission and even say they did put forth a good faith effort in creating the Rules & Regs but the real problem is not their fault. I knew funding was going to be an issue which is WHY I told the Legislature and the Governor how to get the funding that is now being used as the excuse for not completing the implementation of the Industry. But it didn’t have to be — so sad and the only thing I can say is “I Told You So”!

I have kept quite even though I knew there was going to be real challenges for the Cannabis Commission that I didn’t think they were ready to handle. In fact, none of the Commissioners nor the Executive Director to my knowledge had any input in the effort to Legalize-it nor did they help in educating the People because they clearly don’t understand “the Street (Village) Market” nor the nuances of the industry and it shows in their approach and in the Rules & Regs. I also noticed the Governor has his emissary still shepherding over the Commission which is just another sad example of GOP Politics and it proves that in the CNMI under the GOP “ it’s not what you know and have done but who you know in the GOP to get you a job — it’s not personal Commissioners just how the GOP operates but I hope you vote Democrat if you want real HELP!

I really didn’t want to get on the case of these new rookies in our Political System and I hope they don’t take this too personal because they are in the big-league that requires tough-skin. But this is really more about the GOP’s arrogance and the lack of “infrastructure” for the Commission to even build the Cannabis Tourism Industry. I did everything I could to work with them directly but they obviously weren’t listening when we met and neither was Sixto, the 19th Senate, the last House of Representatives nor the Governor! Yes, I made extended appeals to our leaders about HOW to “hit-the-ground-running” with the Cannabis & Hemp Industries but nobody really listened! I just wasted my time and ALL the research I had done on these two industries for the 19th Senate and the People of the CNMI. Heck, the Governor didn’t even look at the research and recommendations he asked me to create before signing the Bill! There is literally 100s of millions out there to help the CNMI get its Cannabis & Hemp Industries started but they don’t know HOW. Creating some rules and regs is one thing but if you don’t have a real mechanism established to apply these rules & regs to then they are useless writings on paper.

The Commission on addressed the local use of marijuana which was something I had addressed in the first draft with an “Amnesty Period” so the Commission could hit the ground running and growers could start developing their strains. We really didn’t need the local use aspect as people have been using it for decades but instead the Commission had to waste time on something that could have already been in the law creating rules and regs that many people are not going to follow anyway. The costs of the licensees are entirely too high and I have asked people if they are going to buy the license and the average answer was: “that’s too much and I been doing it anyway keeping it out of sight.” If people have been doing something illegal for FREE and getting away with it, why would POOR people even think about paying 75.00 when its legal that they don’t have. This is the GOP mentality of overcharging the people as I’m sure Democrats would have left the license at 10.00 and a 15.00 fee for inspection which I put in the first draft. The Commission is literally setting people up for failure, fines and even jail. Virtually NOTHING is going to change in the villages mainly because they created rules & regs that don’t favor locals. It cost 75 dollars a year just to grow your own Pot, do they know how many people in the CNMI are on Food Stamps who already grow marijuana and can’t afford to pay the 75.00. If they think they are going to get a herd of people applying for licenses, especially during these trying times, they can forget it — it ain’t happening. And what happened to a “Public Hearing” on these Rules & Regs before sending them to the Governor but this is classic GOP style — just shove it down our throats! In fact, the idea that these Rules & Regs are going to generate any sizeable revenue is just another GOP whitewashing and gaslighting event.

There hasn’t been a single thing done to even start the development of a “supply” which should have been considered FIRST in any economic venture of “supply & demand” as no one will buy a Laboratory, Wholesale, Processing nor Dispensary License if there is no clearly defined and organized supply, duh! I didn’t read anything about a “laboratory” which is an ABSOLUTE NECESITY to the entire Cannabis Tourism & Medical market which is WHY Guam’s legalization efforts have been stalled for YEARS. There hasn’t been a single “forum” so the community can get educated and ask questions because publishing a group of questions and answers is truly insufficient for the what needs to be accomplished. Virtually no one is on the same page with our legalization issue due to poor public education efforts and the lack of a real plan to deliver a fully operating Cannabis & Hemp Industries. But to their credit, the Legislature FAILED to even establish the appropriate foundation for the Commission to even be successful. The Legislature even deleted the “tracking & accountability system for home plots and the flow of marijuana from grower too customers purchases” — duh and just another example of U-know-what GOP thinking! By not listening and even teasing me about making the Bill a thousand pages they literally stripped the Bill of its skin, muscles, vascular system and virtually everything figuratively leaving nothing but “bare-bones” of a Bill. They even had to write a “Companion bill that still didn’t offer the Commission any real help just delayed the process and raised the fees on local people and lowered restrictions for outsiders. It is another sell-out job to investors (you-know-who) and its just down right ridiculous in how they are implementing the two industries. They act like they didn’t learn a single thing from our neighbor in Guam who is also floundering with Legalization and can’t cash-in on the revenues.

To their credit, when I did meet with the Commission Chair and the Managing Director, I was told the “Hemp Industry had been turned over to Agriculture” but WE the People haven’t heard a whisper of this revelation as I only knew because I inquired. If the Hemp Industry is with Agriculture then what-in-the-hell is going on with this industry because it is truly the CNMI’s best bet to actually start exporting products with “Made in the USA” tags again and create high-paying manufacturing jobs that is now driven by the ability to operate “automated machinery” so it’s not the size of the workforce but size of our efforts to do the WORK to get the industry up and running. From where I sit in the cheap-seats the size of the work to get the Hemp Industry up and running is being done by GOP ANTS figuratively! The Governor and his Crew need to be ashamed of how they have completely ignored what is a growing industry with an unlimited ceiling. I encourage readers to just google “hemp products” and you will be amazed as hemp is better and more durable than some metals, glass, fiberglass, plastic and rubber — HEMP is the future of a plethora (overabundance) of goods & products for all kinds of uses from home products to car parts!

Smart people are smart enough to know what they don’t know and are SMART enough to defer to the people who do KNOW. But our GOP leaders who think they are SOOO darn smart are NOT smart enough to KNOW what they don’t KNOW and toooo DUMB and arrogant to listen to the ones who do KNOW! I tried to tell these you-know-whats about all the many nuances of getting these industries started and nearly two years later we are only talking about rules & regs that some states did in 30 days with virtually NOTHING in place for practical application. I am really upset and disappointed because I knew we could have done much better. I knew We the People would have a problem with implementation because Sixto didn’t want to share the spot light with me and just used legalization to get elected and dropped the ball (issue) once he got re-elected! So, to a large degree the People can thank Sixto, the 19th Senate, the previous Legislature and the Governor for the faltering start of our Cannabis & Hemp Industries because I TOLD THEM SO!!!

The funny part for me just to keep from crying is the Legislature & Governor went against my research that clearly proved the need for a separate Cannabis Enforcement Division but they still insisted on putting enforcement on DPS when the whole IDEA of legalization was to take a load of DPS, duh! But the kicker is, 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. There was no mentioning of when and how they are going to open the Dispensaries because there isn’t going to be any money made from locals other than a few licenses. So Yes, if you are upset about how this is playing out and the cost of these licenses then get upset at the Governor for not listening and increasing the amounts I had suggested without any consultation with me even though the cost of the fees had been approved and made it through both houses of the Legislature — the Godfather syndrome is all I can say about that! There are many other issues and problems that I just can’t cover in this one Epitaph so: to be continued. One People One Direction.

The writer is a resident of Kagman, Saipan.

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