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The State of Medical Marijuana in Mariana Islands
2020 Grade: D+
2019-2020 Improvements and Recommendations
The Cannabis Commission, which is the regulatory body directed to organize rules governing cannabis and hemp across the Northern Mariana Islands by March 2020, initiated work to craft regulations in September of 2019. Regulators issued emergency regulations on March 10, 2020 designed to jump-start industry organization and production. The new regulations provide rules covering cultivators, processors, testing laboratories and consumption lounges. The Cannabis Commission also issued rules in February of 2020 outlining a registration process for patients seeking authorization for home cultivation. Additional regulations are expected this year dealing with the production of edible cannabis products. While ASA applauds CNMI’s authorization of home cultivation for patients and urges preservation of this authority, we also recommend that lawmakers and regulators spend time in 2021 fine tuning the Commonwealth’s medical program, licensing qualified medical cannabis businesses and opening a functional medical cannabis market for patients to access.
In 2018, Governor Ralph Torress (R) signed HB 20-178, legislation authorizing the creation of both medical and adult-use commercial cannabis production and access systems. Due to the small population size (about 55,000 residents), lawmakers decided to legalize cannabis for medical and non-medical purposes to sustain the program. CNMI’s medical program includes a number of important tenants for patients, such as a robust qualifying condition list, strong patient civil rights protections, and a tax exemption. As the territory implements regulations the Islands’ grade will no doubt improve.
No feedback was received from patients in CNMI.