Northern Mariana Islands Legislature Approves Legalization Bill

By Benjie Cooper

IG: @nuglifenews

YouTube: Lucid’s Vlog

A modified version of a bill to legalize cannabis for adult use in the United States territory, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), successfully passed the Senate Tuesday. The measure was then sent to the House of Representatives where it passed Wednesday with a 10 to 7 vote.

According to the World Health Organization, CNMI consumes medicinal and recreational marijuana at the second highest rate in the world: 22.5 percent or one in four people.

“Therefore, the Legislature finds that it is in our best interest to move marijuana into a regulated and controlled market for adult use,” state the authors of the bill. “Allowing for the creation of jobs and the capturing of a new revenue stream that can be used to fund public safety programs, public school infrastructure and programs.”

An early version of the measure, SB 20-62, would have allowed voters to weigh in on the issue but the committee decided to remove that provision and have lawmakers to end prohibition with an act.

If the bill becomes law, it would legalize the personal cultivation and use of cannabis for adults, and set up a licensing system for commercial production, transport, and sale. Tax revenue collected under the program would be used to fund its implementation as well as other government services.

Having passed both the House and the Senate, the measure will now make its way to Governor Ralph Torres’ desk for consideration.