Slider
Slider

|

Slider

OPINION | Epitaph 137: Legalization not criminalization

Editorials & Columns
Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

“WE the People” is one of the most notable phrases spoken about OUR Government that is supposed to work for YOU & ME but that is not the case in the CNMI and why WE the People are now witnessing a Cannabis Commission who is making more criminals with marijuana legalization instead of decriminalizing marijuana activities which was one of the main purposes for legalizing marijuana. 

President Obama started the legalization movement because he wanted to stop making criminals of people who grow and use marijuana — decriminalization, not a new form of criminalizing.

I know that no one can dispute the fact that I was the only expert hired by our Government to “study and help develop the Bill to legalize marijuana” as I have previously shared with readers on how the Senate, the House of Representatives and the Governor barely listened to me. But even children can tell when something is wrong and believe me, I knew something was wrong when the Senate & Sixto went against many of the things I recommended and the House of Reps. & Governor just continued with the same shenanigans that were meant to humor me to keep me from writing about them and the Bill in this newspaper. I recommended 10 years to be a commercial grower but they changed it to 5 years which was done for Chinese Investors, which was the first PROOF the Republicans were busy selling out the local people from running the Cannabis Industry for Investors. I also told them to establish a “CNMI Government Agreement to BACK loans with CDA for Locals to get started in the Cannabis Tourism Industry” just like we see the Federal Government do with farmers, student loans and a host of other things. But instead they have left local citizens to literally “fend-for-ourselves” with no real desire to create local entrepreneurs in the new Cannabis Tourism Industry as the GOP cares MORE about helping foreign investors than WE the People. 

But the latest ridiculous and totally unreasonable revelation of the law requiring citizens to pay 75.00 dollars a year per-person in each household to grow their own marijuana or face fines, seizure and even jail tells all. I TOLD the Senate and the House of Representatives that personal growing should be FREE and at the most 5.00 or 10.00 dollars and a onetime fee, for a household to be “permanently registered.”  But instead WE the People are facing a 75.00 fee for each person in each household which is ridiculous given the very people they want to purchase a license have been growing for FREE ever-since and they were virtually facing the same penalties and even worse — it’s beyond belief ,duh and entirely kaduku!  Many states just gave their citizens the “rights & guidelines” for free to grow their own because it is no way they could police the licensing of so many and monitor and neither can our DPS. I know for a fact as Police officers have told me that they really don’t want to have anything to do with policing marijuana as they have far more serious task to perform. I even advised the Legislature and the Governor to create a “Cannabis Enforcement Unite” under the Commission like other states to avoid criminalizing acts that would be limited to “a ticket and fine” like a traffic ticket.  But instead of legalizing marijuana they are continuing to criminalize marijuana growth.

Why would all the adults in the same household purchase a separate license which is what the Cannabis Commission is expecting people to do. Why would those poor people, especially those on food stamps and those who have been growing and selling their marijuana to just make ends-meet for years want to purchase a license? It’s obvious to me the Legislature and Governor either don’t care or they are just totally ignorant as there was no real consideration given to the existing marijuana activities in the CNMI after seeing the criminalizing law that is already evolving from legalization.  When it comes to citizens growing their own marijuana, WE the Poor People are virtually in the same position of being a criminal for growing that WE were in prior to legalization — duh!  The Cannabis Commission has only traded one criminal law governing marijuana for another criminal law which tells me that WE the People really need to hurry-up and take back OUR Government from these Republicans because the Democrats may be our ONLY hope. 

But this is not the Cannabis Commission’s fault so much as it is the Governor and the Legislature who are dictating to the Cannabis Commission. It is also a matter of public record that the Governor requested for HIGHER FEES when he made his “line-item vetoes” to the Bill and Legislature and Cannabis Commission were just carrying out his marching orders that were coming from the head of our Government whom we know was working more to help investors at IPI and Tan Holdings than the People.  I even explained to Sixto and the Governor that the Cannabis Industry should be about “empowering locals to be the main entrepreneurs in the Industry and freeing up the local people to grow their own marijuana at no cost. The Commission’s focus should be about getting our Marijuana Strains developed, a Lab for testing and opening dispensaries to regulate the business activities to generate additional income from the Tourists & Cannabis Businesses through taxes, not on licensing every local person who wants to grow their own marijuana. I am willing to predict they only issued a handful of licenses which is why they didn’t tell us how many licenses were even issued in the first batch and it may be the last batch. And what about the Commercial Licenses to grow for the Dispensaries which most locals can’t even afford which is one of the reasons why I told Sixto when drafting the Bill that they should work with CDA to help locals. But Sixto was more concerned with just getting something done to get people to vote for him thinking there would never be any blow-back but it’s election season now when “the TRUTH-come-to-the-light”!

I do hope the young people over the Cannabis Commission will not take this personal because I have seen the Governor’s “watch-dog” in action and up-close & personal peering over your shoulders and monitoring your every move which I’m sure is why you refused my help so I know what you are up against. Hopefully, there will be a Democrat majority in the next Legislature to fix and clean up the mess the Republicans have already made of Legalization and we don’t even have a dispensary open yet. To be continued. One People One Direction

The writer is a retired teacher, former CNMI Board of Education Member, James Madison Fellow (U.S. Constitutional Scholar) and a Fulbright-Hays Foreign Scholar who resides in Kagman III.

 

November 2020 pssnewsletter

previous arrow
next arrow
Shadow
Slider

Read more articles

Visit our Facebook Page

previous arrow
next arrow
Shadow
Slider