GEC to meet again on medical marijuana bill - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GEC to meet again on medical marijuana bill

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Will voters get to decide on whether medicinal marijuana should be legalized on Guam? All will be known tomorrow as the Guam Election Commission will once again meet to discuss whether they still believe Bill 215 is inorganic.

The Guam Election Commission's legal counsel Jeff Cook has issued another opinion on Bill 215. "The commission is in receipt of legal counsel's opinion taking into consideration what was submitted to the commission last Thursday by office of Senator Tina Muna Barnes," said Maria Pangelinan, GEC executive director.

It was last week when Barnes' legal counsel Julian Aguon along with the legislature's minority legal counsel James Espaldon penned separate legal opinions both in disagreement with Cook who had called action by the Guam Legislature in passing Bill 215 inorganic. The commission chose not to adopt Cook's opinion in order to provide more time to review the new legal opinions. While Pangelinan couldn't disclose what the latest opinion states, cook did indicate last week that the counter legal opinions most likely wouldn't change his opinion on Bill 215.

Just today, bill 215's author Senator Tina Muna Barnes says she submitted a third legal opinion, this time from the legislature majority's legal counsel Therese Therlaje. "It is the law of the land today and we're hoping that with the legal opinions submitted that they will follow through on their ministerial duty have the Guam Election Commission set up the questionnaire for the people to vote on Election day on November 4," said Senator Tina Muna Barnes.

Terlaje's opinion falls in line with Aguon and Espaldon's opinion where she states the people of Guam have the right to referendum pursuant to the organic act. She adds Congress mandated that the laws of Guam dictate the conditions and procedures for a referendum in which Bill 215 appropriately initiates one. "If there is a challenge or a petition from anybody else on a declaratory judgment then the legislature would answer to that, but there has been no challenge to date 0407 and I don't see a challenge coming our way," she said.

And while Barnes says the Legislature has followed its due diligence, Pangelinan says it will now be up to the commission to decide Thursday. She said, "I'm very appreciative of the deliberate discussion that's been going on and that the focus the commission's focus is strictly on the process of how it will or not get on the ballot."

The GEC will reconvene Thursday March 6 at 5:32pm. 

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