Medicinal marijuana policies available for public review
After months of work and research and input from local and off-island stakeholders, the draft rules and regulations for the implementation of medicinal marijuana is finally available for the public to review.
It's now available for public consumption and by the end of this month, a trio of public hearings will be held on the draft rules and regulations for the Joaquin "KC" Concepcion Ii Compassionate Cannabis Use Act of 2013. "I think it's well written, it's tight, we've learned a lot, the staff have learned a lot, and they've done a great job doing this," said James Gillan, director of the Department of Public Health.
He says the 151-page document outlines not only how medicinal marijuana is regulated on island but helps protect the health, safety and welfare of everyone from patients to physicians. "What they do is they set the requirements for one- how people can certify and be certified for being eligible for medical marijuana certificate," he said.
Along with its advisory board, Public Health met with stakeholders on completing the rules and even sent staff off-island to get hands on experience. Gillan says now the public will get a chance to provide feedback and ask questions. "Just to listen to people's concerns, some people definitely had problems with the whole program, there may be specific things people may want to comment on and they might want to talk about the process for how a debilitating condition gets added," he said.
The rules and regs outline requirements for laboratory testing, security, record keeping and penalties. The cost however for medicinal marijuana is not yet determined. "We have no idea what's it going to be we do have all of our fees for the licenses and certificates there and we're hoping that will generate, and we're hoping the legislature will let us keep that so we can operate the program," he said.
Licenses to operate a dispensary or cultivation site is set at $1,000 with registration certificates at $35,000. Gillan meanwhile has estimated the price could range from $500 or more for an ounce of marijuana based off street value. And while the draft was modeled after Arizona's rules, Gillan says feedback is important as even the state has several lawsuits pending over issues on licensing, cultivation, and distributors.
"If nothing else, the compassion should drive it, we're going to try to make sure that it doesn't go crazy and go all over the place and wind up having a gray market in Marijuana and that's the reason for the regulations," he said.
Public Health will host three public hearings on July 29 and July 30 at the Guam Legislature from 9am to 11am and on July 31 at the Division of Senior Citizens Conference Room in the Castle Mall in Mangilao from 3pm to 6pm. You can view the entire rules on Public Health's web site.