US Territory Legalizes Adult Marijuana Use

SAIPAN, CNMI — The governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Island (CNMI), a US territory of approximately 54,000 people, has signed legislation into law legalizing the use and retail sale of cannabis.

House and Senate lawmakers had previously approved the measure in August by a vote of 24 to 1.

Under the new law, those over the age of 21 will be permitted to possess and grow personal use quantities of cannabis, and to obtain cannabis-infused products such as tinctures and extracts from licensed retailers. Commercial marijuana cultivation will be subject to a 10 percent excise tax.

Those under 21 years of age who suffer from a qualifying medical condition will also be legally permitted to access cannabis.

Public cannabis consumption, along with the use of marijuana while in the presence of a minor, is subject to civil penalty.

A five-member commission will oversee the implementation of the new law. Members of the commission must be appointed within 30 days. The commission must adopt regulations governing the medical and adult use markets within 180 days of its initial organizational meeting.

Location of the Northern Mariana Islands, a commonwealth of the United States. (Wikimedia Commons)

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