More home cultivators of medical pot approved

PERMITS: Marijuana plants are shown growing in buckets. The total number of approved licenses for medical marijuana home cultivation on Guam has risen to six. Los Angeles Times file photo

Qualified patients can grow their own medicinal marijuana under certain conditions, states the legislation Gov. Eddie Calvo signed into law this afternoon.

The legislation's author, Republican Sen. Louise Muna, said she's ecstatic.

"It takes a great burden off my shoulder" that patients can get medicinal marijuana relief on Guam, she said. 

On Thursday last week, by a vote of 8-3, lawmakers approved the measure that would allow qualified patients to grow their own medicinal marijuana, under certain conditions.

Sens. James Espaldon, Telena Nelson and Dennis Rodriguez Jr. voted against the bill. Sens. Frank Aguon Jr., Michael San Nicolas and Mary Torres were absent.

Muna said she did so out of frustration with the lack of progress on the existing legislation that was passed more than four years ago.

Bill 302-34 requires patients or their caregivers to obtain a permit to grow cannabis from the Department of Public Health and Social Services.

Debate on Wednesday

During debate on the bill Wednesday, a number of amendments were approved.

One amendment allows qualified individuals to grow up to 12 juvenile plants and six flowering plants – an increase from the three flowering plants and six juvenile plants in the original bill.

Another amendment requires the cannabis to be grown inside, under lock and key. Outside cultivation will not be permitted.

An amendment to allow DPHSS to inspect the plants was also adopted, but a 24-hour notice must be given. Public health inspectors will be authorized to seize any plants that exceed the number permitted.

Stop-gap measure

Muna has described her bill as a stop-gap measure that will remain in place until the medicinal marijuana law approved in 2014 is fully implemented.

Two key provisions that have held up implementation are the construction of a laboratory to test the cannabis and a dispensary to provide it to patients.

Muna has said that her preference would have been to have cannabis "made available to patients through a dispensary."

"Sadly, for these patients, it does not appear that medical cannabis will be available anytime soon," she said.

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