Guam Governor seeks Recreational Marijuana Legalization

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on December 23, 2016.

Guam Governor Eddie Calvo, a Republican, has proposed legalizing recreational marijuana in the U.S. island territory with heavy taxation. Recreational marijuana could generate tax revenue to fund public safety and education, he said on Tuesday.

 “We’re talking about cutting what would be red tape and concerns about funding for required enforcement on the new marijuana legislation that became law” Calvo said in a written statement. “I want us to look at how states navigated into recreational marijuana; let’s figure it out and then tax the heck out of it and use those taxes to help fund our hospital, public safety and education.”

The governor also said if marijuana is legalized for recreational purpose, the island could see an increase in tourism arrivals, particularly from Asian counties.

Calvo’s marijuana legalization for recreational use proposal follows his veto of a medical marijuana bill last week that would allow eligible residents to grow medical marijuana at home. His veto message said the bill places a huge burden on public health which he could not permit.

Calvo said regulating medical marijuana is likely to cost the government $8 million to $10 million a year. To meet the cost, the Governor has pushed to legalize marijuana for recreational use and impose a sales tax on the drug. The taxes would provide additional revenue for the government to sustain the medical program as well as fund shortfalls at critical agencies.

Bill 344 states residents must obtain a permit, and their homes are subject to regular inspection by law enforcement and public health officials.

Senators had approved the bill in a 8-7 vote earlier this month, which means the veto could stand. At least 10 votes are required to override the veto.

In 2014, Guam voters approved to legalize the medical use of marijuana. However, the program has not been implemented yet.

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