LIEUTENANT Gov. Ralph D.L.G. Torres will look into the pros and cons of the proposed legalization of medicinal marijuana in the CNMI (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands).
Torres, in an interview on Friday, said he had not yet studied the bill introduced by
Sen. Sixto L. Igisomar, adding that he would like to know how many CNMI patients may qualify and benefit from the proposal.
“There are lot of surveys that need to be done first. It’s not a new topic and we do have legalization in the states, but we should also find out how many patients will benefit from it and if we’re going to lose federal funding and how much and is it worth it?
“So it has to be looked at carefully and I would like the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. and the Public School System to conduct more surveys about it,” Torres said,
Similar measures were introduced in the past but they were not passed. In November, voters of neighboring Guam approved a medicinal marijuana initiative.
Igisomar’s bill would allow the use of marijuana for several illness among them cancer and epilepsy.
He said the purpose of the bill is to find alternative means to help alleviate suffering from debilitating medical conditions.
His bill defines debilitating medical condition as cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity, epilepsy, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome, admitted into hospice care in accordance with rules promulgated under this act, post-traumatic stress disorder, rheumatoid arthritis or similar chronic autoimmune inflammatory disorders or any other medical condition, medical treatment or disease.
Igisomar said the use of medicinal marijuana will only be applicable to qualified patients who have been diagnosed having a debilitating medical condition and have received written certification and a registry identification card.
A qualified patient “shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution or penalty in any manner for the possession of or use of the medicinal marijuana if the quantity of the cannabis does not exceed an adequate supply.”
The use of medicinal marijuana, moreover, “shall not be applicable to a minor qualified patient unless the patient’s practitioner has explained the potential risk and benefits of the medical use of cannabis.”
Igisomar’s bill defines cannabis as “all parts of the plant of the genus cannabis whether growing or not, the seeds, the resin extracted from any part of the plant and every compound manufacturer salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of the plant, its seeds or its resin including marijuana concentrate. Cannabis does not include the mature stalks of the plant, fiber produced from the stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of the plant sterilized seed of the plant which is incapable of germination, or any other ingredient combined with marijuana to prepare topical or oral administrations, food, drink or other products.”