Governor Eddie Calvo just introduced a bill to legalize recreational marijuana use. The measure would allow those ages 21 and older to purchase and possess up to 1-ounce of marijuana in the U.S. island territory of Guam. The purchase would only be legal when from a licensed distributor, and a 15-percent sin (drug) tax would be applied to all sales.
A benefit to this bill is that medical marijuana cardholders would be tax exempt, according to Guam Pacific Daily News. The bill was introduced almost a month from Calvo’s announcement of his support to legalize and tax recreational marijuana. It is expected that it would cost $8 to $10 million annually to maintain and regulate the medical marijuana program.
Calvo mentioned via press release: “I am introducing this bill, not because I personally support the recreational use of marijuana, but as a solution to the regulatory labyrinth that sprouted from the voter-mandated medical marijuana program” and “the solution to the problem is to simplify this matter.”
He also added that the bill would decriminalize marijuana production, sales, distribution and consumption. It would control the industry and appropriately tax purchases.
Revenues from recreational marijuana sales would help support education programs, promote healthy lifestyles, help Guam Memorial Hospital operations (the first $40 million in marijuana tax dollars collected would go to the hospital), and fund the state’s medical marijuana program.
Calvo also stated: “While eliminating the black market is advantageous, the regulatory nightmare that became the medicinal program would have replaced it with a gray market rife with corruption and cronyism.”
Public consumption would remain illegal and would result in a $100 fine. The law does not include any provisions requiring employers to stop testing for or banning use.
This bill does include a home cultivation provision. Calvo noted: “They may do this without fear of arrest or the burden of taxation so long as they are not selling their harvest without the business license required by law. If a person is suspected and is reported for unlawfully selling cannabis without a business license, criminal penalties will apply if authorities find more than six cannabis plants in the home, among other restrictions.”
Further discussions are planned for Calvo’s bill.