HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) — On Wednesday, the government board tasked to roll out Guam's cannabis industry rules tackled the idea of allowing on-premises cannabis consumption for retailers under a separate license, which some board members said could prevent illegal use at public beaches or parks.
It was part of a discussion on the draft rules' Article 5, relating to retail cannabis stores.
The Cannabis Control Board, chaired by attorney Vanessa Williams, has been considering the public comments received as it continues to review, modify and try to finalize the draft rules.
Department of Revenue and Taxation Director Dafne Mansapit-Shimizu said with regard to consumption of tobacco products or cigars, the Natasha Protection Act has a provision allowing on-premises consumption in retail tobacco stores, but it's specific only to tobacco smoking.
It does not cover cannabis smoking, according to Mansapit-Shimizu, who is also vice chairwoman of the CCB.
Rev and Tax, she said, believes that if cannabis smoking is to be allowed on-premises, "it has to be specific in law."
The way to do that is to have another law or a law amendment, she and other members said.
Department of Agriculture Deputy Director Adrian Cruz said on-premises cannabis consumption will help address concerns raised by tourism-related entities that believe cannabis use in Tumon, including the beaches and famous tourist spots, could ruin the visitor industry.
If indoor consumption in a licensed establishment is allowed, then cannabis users don't have to consume the product somewhere else, Cruz said.
All this is part of the "big picture" discussion on where cannabis businesses will be allowed to operate or whether vertical integration will be allowed, he said.
Many of the public comments were on proposed vertical integration, which allows residents to own and operate different types of cannabis businesses, and whether cannabis sale, use and advertising can be banned from the tourist district of Tumon.
The 2019 law that legalized adult cannabis already prohibits and penalizes cannabis use in public places.
The Guam Visitors Bureau's Nico Fujikawa, also a CCB member, said from a regulatory perspective, it would be easier to track businesses licensed to have on-premises consumption of cannabis.
The board will further take up the issue in future meetings, including considering an additional license for retail stores.
During Wednesday's meeting, board members tightened the language in the draft rules' provisions on retail cannabis stores, including requiring retailers to report within 24 hours any use or attempted use of fake identification cards to buy cannabis.
The changed language requires the confiscation of the ID card that was used, also within 24 hours of the violation.
Board members also changed some language in the enforcement and penalties provision of the draft rules, taking into consideration public comments.