Guam Marijuana Legalization Bill Sent to Governor

Dane Larsen | @_danebailey

Guam, one of the United States’ Micronesian territories, has passed a bill to legalize recreational marijuana for adults ages 21 and over through the House of Representatives and Senate of the respective enclave. With the passing of this bill, adults will be able to possess, consume, and also grow marijuana from a list of government-licensed retailers. But to account for reform, cannabis would be subject to a 15% tax.

Guam as a U.S. Territory

Guam is one of the sixteen United States modern sectors overseas. It is, however, only one of the five permanently inhabited territories. Guam joins Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa on that list. Historically, territories of a country were acquired through Imperialism or expansion and eventually were granted statehood. The case with these five countries is peculiar because the United States has denied such rights to citizens of nations like Guam time and time again.

Guam joins the Northern Mariana Islands as the second U.S. territory to legalize recreational marijuana. In the case of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, their respective governments have legalized sales of marijuana in medical cases. However, American Samoa still prohibits cannabis.

Weed Legislation History

During the 2014 midterms, the people of Guam advanced a referendum to legalize medical marijuana. This measure passed the popular vote, with 57% of the population voting in favor. In 2017, the previous Governor of Guam, Republican Ray Tenorio vetoed an act to allow medicinal marijuana distributors to cultivate marijuana in the sanctity of their own home.

In a progressive push towards the future with a growing percentage of young, driven voters, Guam has made the switch to a Democratic-run government. The bill at hand passed through the Senate 8-7, earning the minimum number of votes to pass. As a result, it will now appear on Governor Lou Leon Guerrero’s desk. Despite only being three months into the job, the people already know Guerrero as a reformist. Thus, many expect him to sign the bill into law.

162,742 people inhabit Guam, with a majority of the population backing Senator Clynt Rigdell’s proposed legislation on cannabis legalization. With the passing of this bill, Guam would become the first U.S. held land to make a legitimate legislation change on the issue of cannabis in the year 2019.

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