Pubdate: Tue, 17 Aug 2010
Source: Saipan Tribune (US MP)
Copyright: 2010 Saipan Tribune
Author: Haidee V. Eugenio


The House Natural Resources Committee recommends killing a bill
seeking to legalize marijuana for all uses in the Commonwealth.

Rep. Stanley Torres (Ind-Saipan), author of House Bill 17-47, said
yesterday he is disappointed that the committee decided to recommend
filing his bill.

"I believe my bill still has a silent majority support. But I am going
to reintroduce it in the form of a legislative initiative, to directly
ask people about it," Torres said.

He said his office now has a draft legislative initiative to legalize
marijuana for medicinal and all other uses in the CNMI. But Torres
said he may not be able to pre-file the initiative in time for today's

The Natural Resources Committee, chaired by Rep. Teresita A. Santos
(Ind-Rota), prepared Standing Committee Report 17-38 which is on the
agenda for today's session.

"After considerable discussion and deliberation on the bill, your
committee recommends that House Bill No. 17-47 be filed by the House,"
said the committee, which held public hearings on the marijuana bill
on Saipan, Tinian and Rota.

Santos' committee has also "reached a consensus that the author will
reintroduce his updated legislation and file it as a House legislative

Torres' Legalization of Marijuana Act of 2010 is the first legislation
of its kind to be introduced in the CNMI.

Torres said his bill will legalize marijuana possession and use for
medicinal purposes, which is now being done in some states and foreign

He also said that by removing the legal restrictions on marijuana, the
quantity and supply of marijuana would diminish the crime and violence
associated with attempts to obtain it or protect it by use of force
and violence.

"The legal use and possession of medical marijuana that currently
exists in approximately 14 jurisdictions of the United States provides
legal justification for legalization, not just for medicinal use, but
for all purposes as set forth herein," he said in his bill.

The Department of Public Health and the Public School System are
opposed to legalizing marijuana use and possession. 
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