THE CNMI Cannabis Commission issued a Marijuana Producer Class 1 license and a Marijuana Retailer license to Lumar, LLC dba CanaMariana’s on Friday, July 2 in the governor’s conference room.
With the issuance of a retail license, local residents 21 and older can purchase marijuana legally over the counter.
The Producer Class 1 license is one of the commercial production licenses that the CNMI Cannabis Commission offers.
It permits the licensee a grow area of less than 750 square feet of canopy space for the legal planting, cultivation, growth, harvesting, drying and sale of cannabis to licensed wholesalers, processors, retailers, lounges, laboratories, and/or research certificate holders in the CNMI.
“Every time we license, it’s monumental because we’re really moving forward with an industry that can definitely help the CNMI,” said CNMI Cannabis Commission managing director Monique B. Sablan.
The CNMI Cannabis Commission conducted a site inspection of CanaMariana’s on Tuesday, June 22, 2021.
“They were really well-prepared... Safety of the community is our priority, so we want to make sure that [they] are continuously in compliance, but also working to ensure that [their] business is successful,” Sablan said.
CanaMariana’s is a military veteran-owned recreational cannabis dispensary and small-scale cannabis cultivation operation located at the corner of Chalan Monsignor Guerrero and Middle Road.
With its “Feel En-heightened" slogan, the focus of CanaMariana’s is on developing its craft without sacrificing quality, in the hopes that it will consistently provide customers with premium service and quality products.
Sablan noted that what sets CanaMariana’s apart is that although not required, its employees have received training and are certified dispensary technicians in the cannabis industry, thus setting the standard for the CNMI cannabis industry.
Through a Colorado-based online education partnership with Green CulturED, CanaMariana’s was able to have its employees, Roger Renguul and Earl Edwin Arceo, trained, certified, and equipped with fundamental knowledge of safely and effectively selling cannabis.
“Someone who is knowledgeable is able to have a little bit more confidence in how they’re going to present what they are doing,” said CanaMariana’s owner Louis Rodgers.
Rodgers explained that CanaMariana’s has two sides: a retail side where cannabis will be sold and a small grow room.
“[The small grow room] is not intended for wholesale. It’s more of an in-house. We’re growing hydroponically. It’s a small room that will allow me to be able to harvest about two and a half pounds every two months for something that we will sell on the shelves inside of CanaMariana’s retail,” he said.
He said that although the business is now licensed, it will need to wait for its growers to complete their harvest around mid- to end of July before selling the first yield.
“Because of the care and craft of cannabis harvesting, the best product is the one that dries [and cures] appropriately before it goes to market,” Rodgers said.
At this time, CanaMariana’s will not be selling edibles, concentrates, and extracts, as there are no licensed processors on-island.
Merchandise such as swag items are in the works for future sale, Rodgers noted.
As a veteran, Rodgers understands that there are several of his brothers and sisters in arms who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and need alternative medicine to cope.
“It’s not just about getting high for them. It’s really about trying to help settle what’s going on in their heads,” he said, noting that he hopes that the products sold at CanaMariana’s provide the relief that people suffering from PTSD are looking for.
He added, “I see cannabis as more of a holistic product [that is] able to help people who may be combating certain illnesses, inflictions, ailments, anxiety, and such, so I believe in the product at that level. Naturally, it’s a social product as well... There’s definitely that benefit as well... All around, it’s really just the opportunity to be part of a brand-new market in the CNMI to help our economy.”
Rodgers also owns VaprSpot, a premier vape shop that also recently opened up right next door to CanaMariana’s.
As a business owner, he said that opening up businesses in the midst of the global Covid-19 pandemic and present economic downturn has been easier than he had anticipated thanks to the Paycheck Protection Program, as well as some personal investments and savings.
“I think the true blessing is that we are now on the backside of Covid-19 as more people become vaccinated and have some ability to return to normalcy. I think it was a smart move to do it now as opposed to trying to jump in when maybe there will be a lot more hustle and bustle going on post-Covid-19,” he said.
He added, “Naturally, it was challenging, but it also means that I can contribute to helping some people get a paycheck and get back to work.”
The CNMI Cannabis Commission was created by CNMI Public Law 20-66 and is chaired by Nadine C. Deleon Guerrero. Its other members are vice chair Matthew O. Deleon Guerrero, secretary Journie M. Hofschneider, treasurer Valentino N. Taisacan and Thomas L. Songsong. The commission’s managing director is Monique B. Sablan.
For more information or questions about the cannabis licensing application or homegrown marijuana registry application, email the CNMI Cannabis Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org (Saipan), email@example.com (Tinian), or firstname.lastname@example.org (Rota).
A list of fees can be found on the CNMI Cannabis Commission’s official website at www.cnmicannabis.org