GEC legal opinion determines medical marijuana bill inorganic - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GEC legal opinion determines medical marijuana bill inorganic

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - During its meeting Thursday night, the Guam Election Commission approved its fifth draft of the invitation for bid for new election equipment, specifically for central tabulators. Executive director Maria Pangelinan says a subcommittee will meet next Monday to finalize the IFB and issue it by February by next Wednesday. This includes publishing the IFB on its web site and a local newspaper along with sending it to the five vendors who were previously showed interest.

And while it wasn't on the agenda, the GEC briefly discussed Bill 215. The measure was passed by lawmakers earlier this month and would allow voters to decide during this year's general election whether medicinal marijuana should be legalized on Guam. Concern was raised recently on language in the measure over a referendum and a legislative submission. GEC legal counsel Jeff Cook recently completed a review of Bill 215 where he calls action by the Guam Legislature "inorganic" and therefore "it would be a violation of law for the GEC to proceed as the bill directs it to."

According to the legal opinion, while the people of Guam shall have the right of initiative and referendum, the Organic Act states that "the members of the Legislature are the elected representatives of the people of Guam but they are not the people of Guam." There is no provision in the Organic Act for a legislative submission of a bill to voters except for the specific provision in putting a referendum to the voters to recall certain government officials.

Counsel's advice to the GEC is to advise the Legislature and the governor of the concerns. If the Legislature determines it disagrees with counsel and continues to direct GEC to proceed under Bill 215, counsel recommends the GEC seek declaratory relief from the superior court.

While Governor Eddie Calvo let Bill 215 lapse into law, Pangelinan says no action will be taken on the measure as of now. She says the next course of action will further be discussed at the GEC's next meeting on February 27. The GEC's legal opinion will be forwarded to the Governor's Office.

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