Guam: One Step Closer to Regulated Medical Marijuana Program

Years after the U.S. territory legalized medicinal cannabis, Guam’s Gov. Eddie Calvo signed legislation on Tuesday approving some long-overdue rules and regulations for the island’s medical marijuana program.  

Legalized in 2014 by Guam’s citizens, the program has languished in limbo after its initial passage nearly four years ago.

Approved by 56 percent of the island’s registered voters, the measure neglected to include critical regulations governing the program’s distribution network, infrastructure, and rules.

While the approved legislation provides the necessary structure governing Guam’s future medical marijuana businesses, it also gives greater clarity on which conditions will qualify for the island’s medical marijuana (MMJ) program.

Guam’s MMJ program covers patients suffering from cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, intractable spasticity, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, hospice patients, PTSD, rheumatoid arthritis and “any other medical condition, medical treatment or disease for which the qualified patients practitioner has determined that the use of medical cannabis may provide relief.”

Passed by an overwhelming majority (14-1) of Guam’s unicameral legislative branch, the bill opens the island’s medical marijuana program to patient reciprocity.

Intended to spark tourism and generate critical revenue for the program, reciprocity is an important new component of the rules and the program’s financial viability. While Guam’s MMJ program initially forbid reciprocity with other states, the new rules stipulate:

“There is a probability of Guam developing a tourist-oriented medical cannabis market that may further spur economic opportunity for our island. Visiting patients who have been diagnosed as having debilitating medical conditions should also be able to avail of the relief medical cannabis offers.”

Last year, Gov. Calvo publicly supported legalizing recreational marijuana for Guam’s residents.

Tuesday’s passage of public law 34-80  means residents of Guam have moved at least one step closer to gaining access to medicinal cannabis.

Cover image courtesy of Jonathan Miske

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