2020-21 Improvements and Recommendations

Guam’s cannabis implementation has been rife with long delays and administrative stalemates. When the Guam Cannabis Industry Act was signed into law in 2019, regulators were required to release rules governing the program by April 2020. Regulators did not propose rules until July 2021, and are only now working to set up a functioning program. In the meantime, regulators announced that cannabis consumption for persons 21 years of age or older is permitted, as is legal possession and gifting of up to one ounce of dried flower and home cultivation of up to three flowering and three non-flowering plants. All sales of adult-use cannabis and sales of manufactured cannabis products are not permitted until regulations are finalized. In the meantime, the organization of a functioning medical access program continues to languish. In 2018 the head of Guam’s Department of Public Health and Social Services resigned citing a lack of staff, budget or expertise necessary to develop or implement the program.

Guam deserves credit for allowing physicians to recommend medical cannabis for any qualifying condition, but it needs to open dispensaries and address administrative delays to effectively serve patients. The territory illustrates that a good program on paper does not necessarily translate to functioning safe and legal patient access. Guam also needs to improve its staff training in cannabis cultivation, dispensing, and manufacturing and increase civil rights protections in the areas of housing, organ transplants, and employment.