Medicinal marijuana policy will soon have public hearing - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Medicinal marijuana policy will soon have public hearing

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The long-awaited rules and regulations for medicinal marijuana in Guam are once again completed by the Department of Public Health and will soon be going up for a public hearing. After the last iteration of rules and regulations for the island's medicinal marijuana program went up in smoke last year, Public Health will soon be seeking public comments on the latest rules and regulations completed by the Division of Environmental Health.

Public Health director James Gillan confirmed a public hearing will be announced in the coming weeks. "It's about 150 pages, so we're back to the same number of pages  that we had in the initial one - that the Division of Environmental Health had drafted with the help of the attorney general," he explained.

Following the hearing the draft rules and regulations will be submitted to the Attorney General's office, and then the governor and legislature for final approval. But while the program is one step closer to implementation, Gillan said he still has reservations with the existing law. "I think that's what disappoints us, is the amount of time its taking to get this done. There are many people who would say that this current law is a better version of the initial law, I kind of disagree because it's very open-ended," he shared.

One example is the fact physicians are able to write medicinal marijuana prescriptions for any condition they deem fit, while Gillan questioned how the Medicinal Marijuana Commission can decide whether or not to approve additional conditions if the majority are not practicing physicians. He added the lab is another concern - saying he's been told by industry experts that funding a lab would cost at least one million dollars. He said one solution could be additional borrowing.

"If we're looking at $400 an ounce, which is below the street price, and if you're getting two ounces a month, that's $800 times 12, times 3,000 patients. So the two ounces or equivalent, so let's say $800, that's a lot of money do the math and if you take the GRT, a percentage of that, we could pay that off in a fairly short period," he stated.

Another option - expanding to patients from Japan. Gillan said, "They were estimating given the numbers they already experience about 20,000 people could potentially be availing themselves of the service, and I don't see any other way to make this work as long as it's only a medicinal model."

He said once the rules and regulations are in place the lab will is the next major hurdle in the implementation of Guam's medicinal marijuana program.

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