The newly established recreational cannabis industry in Guam is taking shape, slowly but surely.
Pacific Daily News reported this week that government regulators in the United States territory have approved 11 so-called “responsible officials” to participate in the recreational pot market, but the Department of Revenue and Taxation says that “no one has taken the next step of applying for a cannabis establishment license.”
Earning that designation is a crucial step toward landing a license, however.
Jeff Wells, the chief executive officer of Metrc—the seed-to-sale tracking system Guam is using—said last year that the company was “excited to rise to the challenge of this unique regulatory opportunity.”
“Metrc is thrilled to partner with the Department of Public Health and Social Services as Guam builds its medical marijuana market. We look forward to working with both regulators and licensed business owners to implement the island’s first regulatory track-and-trace program. We are proud to play a leading role in ensuring the safety and security of the nation’s legal cannabis market,” Wells said at the time.
Guam legalized recreational cannabis back in 2019 with the Guam Cannabis Industries Act.
The measure “legalizes the personal possession of marijuana by adults, and establishes regulations governing the plant’s commercial production and retail sale,” according to NORML.
“The law permits those age 21 or older to legally possess and transfer up to one ounce of marijuana flower and/or eight grams of concentrated cannabis. The measure, which took immediate effect, also permits adults to privately cultivate up to six cannabis plants (no more than three mature) in an ‘enclosed, locked space.’ Public consumption of cannabis will remain a violation of law,” NORML explained after the measure was approved. “The Act creates a new regulatory board to draft rules governing the plant’s commercial production and retail sale. The board has a one-year timeline to adopt rules necessary to permit for the operation of licensed cannabis establishments.”
Guam’s Cannabis Control Board gave the greenlight to two more “responsible officials” on Monday, according to Pacific Daily News. The regulator had already given the go-ahead to nine other individuals who earned the designation.
Those individuals were “briefed about the next steps during a Nov. 17 meeting and were given the application forms required to open a cannabis establishment,” Pacific Daily News reported.
“They have it, they’re working on their packet, but none of them actually submitted to the office for review or consideration at this time,” Craig Camacho, a compliance supervisor for the Department of Revenue and Taxation, told the Cannabis Control Board, as quoted by Pacific Daily News.
Guam’s governor, Lou Leon Guerrero, announced late last year that the island had “executed a contract with Metrc, an experienced provider of cannabis regulatory systems in the United States.”
“Over the last decade, we have seen substantial evidence that cannabis has medicinal benefits. With the final review by our Cannabis Control Board on the rules and regulations for the industry, we can more efficiently control recreational use and ensure safe and regulated products,” Guerrero said in a statement at the time. “The cannabis industry will benefit our community by funding expanded public services in health and public safety, and providing alternative treatment and rehabilitation for people who need it.”
Guam lieutenant governor Josh Tenorio said that as “an island territory and tourism hotspot, Guam’s cannabis market faces unique challenges when it comes to regulation and oversight.”
“We are excited for this historic partnership between DPHSS and Metrc, which will assist our government in executing the secure and responsible implementation of our cannabis industry on Guam, and further provide us with the tools we need to ensure our success,” Tenorio said.