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Rodriguez working to expedite medicinal marijuana

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It's been more than three years since voters passed a medicinal marijuana law.  But there are still no regulations in place to allow businesses to start selling.  Health Committee chair Dennis Rodriguez is trying to jumpstart the process, holding a hearing Tuesday night on a new bill he hopes will finally do the job.

It was Public Health that was given the lead in putting the rules and regs together, but it was lawmakers themselves that shot down their attempt.  Now Rodriguez has come up with a new bill that he says will address the stumbling blocks of the past, as he said, "All of that now is behind us, we've tried as much as possible to work with them, to get everyone involved in this process."

He says they will draw on the input and lessons-learned in pushing through the new bill.  One major change is to allow sales to foreigners, who would provide the scale Guam lacks to make the industry more viable. "If there's the possibility that we open it up and increase the patients by servicing non-residents then that's going to translate into easier access for our own people here to get access to this that are affordable," he shared.

Expanding into marijuana tourism addresses just one of a number of lingering concerns, but Rodriguez is confident they can be addressed...and fairly quickly.  He's embarked on an aggressive timeline to have the bill passed by the end of the year, saying, "If we have a session for that then I know that by next year then the program could be moving along."

A mark-up hearing is scheduled for Thursday, followed soon after by a second public hearing.  

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