A U.S. territory, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) could join the 8 other U.S. states that have legalized and regulated recreational cannabis for adult use. The territory is holding a hearing next week for a bill that would allow the population of 18,000 voters on the island to choose for themselves on the ballot of November 2018 if they would like recreational cannabis to be legal. If the current legislation is passes then adults over 21 could possess up to 4oz of cannabis, additional amounts of concentrated products, and 12 mature plants could be grown at home. If everything continues at a reasonable pace then the Cannabis Commission would be able to accept business applicaitons for the new industry by July 2019.
A key CNMI Senate committee will hold a hearing on a cannabis reform bill on Tuesday and, if its supporters get their way, the territory could join the eight U.S. states that have already enacted legalization, along with the District of Columbia.
Advocates are optimistic that this year’s bill has a chance of being enacted if supporters show up and make their voices heard.
“Legalization will not happen by itself. We as a community need to engage the issue proactively if we want this to happen,” Sensible CNMI’s Gerry Palacios Hemley said in a press release. “The time to act is now.”