Marijuana Laws and Policies in Guam
While the island of Guam isn’t exactly a state in and of itself, it still belongs under the jurisdiction of the United States. As such, it is a territory whose cannabis scene also reflects that of the country! Now, you may not be familiar with the island of Guam as it is pretty far off the coast and is the westernmost part of the USA. But believe me when I say that the cannabis scene over there could surprise you!
As a place that is filled with white sand beaches and tropical dreams, Guam seems like the perfect place to get stoned! Well, you would be happy to know that cannabis is, in fact, fully legal on the island! As a place that is quite secluded from the rest of the country, marijuana actually plays quite a major role in the culture found over there.
History of Cannabis in Guam
In the year 2013, a law was proposed which sought to establish a framework for a medical marijuana program in Guam. The following year, as voting elections were held, residents of Guam approved of the Joaquin Concepcion II Compassionate Cannabis Act. This allowed the residents of Guam to utilize cannabis for health treatments and other benefits. Additionally, qualified people were also able to carry and buy marijuana within Guam.
A registry that was put up by the Department of Health and Human Services provided for a more organized and well-detailed process for the application of medical patients, physicians, and caregivers. In 2016, another bill called the Bill #343-33 provided a much wider and expansive list of qualifying health conditions which authorized more residents to make use of the program.
The bill also set up the Medical Marijuana Regulation Commission for the administration of all medical weed activities on the island and approved lab testing of all cannabis supplies before being distributed.
During the year 2018, no cannabis shops and clinics were authorized to provide medical marijuana supplies. As a result, the Public Law 34-125 authorized patients to instead grow their own cannabis plants in their private residences.
Legalization of recreational cannabis:
Guam officially legalized the adult and recreational use of marijuana in 2019, when the Guam Cannabis Industry Act was approved and passed into law. With this bill, qualified people were now able to fully distribute, purchase, carry, and consume marijuana for leisure purposes.
The law also established the Cannabis Control Board (CC) and provided frameworks for the licensing and operations or cannabis retail shops. This included the establishment of medical marijuana clinics and dispensaries.
Cannabis Regulation Body
The Department of Health and Human Services in Guam houses the Medical Cannabis Regulation Commission. This government body is tasked with the implementation, administration, and overseeing of the medical marijuana program in Guam.
Functions such as the registration and screening of patients, lab testing of cannabis supplies, distribution of medical supplies to dispensaries, issuance of medical marijuana cards, and implementing rules for the program all fall under their jurisdiction.
As for the Cannabis Control Board (CCB), they mainly deal with the regulation of cannabis dispensaries. Licensing, cultivation, and transporting the supplies of cannabis mainly fall under the functions of the CCB.
The DHHS operates a very user-friendly and accessible cannabis program that allows residents of Guam to make use of medical marijuana for “serious” and debilitating conditions.
A medical patient must first obtain a proper prescription from a qualified doctor stating that the said patient may utilize cannabis for his/her diagnosed condition. Afterwards, the patient may apply for the medical marijuana registry by submitting the needed requirements and paying the application fee.
Caregivers will also need to register under the DHHS in order to make full use of their capacity as such. A designated caregiver must be at least 21 years of age and will be allowed to assist up to five (5) separate patients.
Almost every type of health condition may be treated using medical cannabis. Some of the most common health illnesses that utilize medical weed in Guam include: AIDS/HIV, Glaucoma, Cancer, Chronic pain, Multiple sclerosis, anxiety, insomnia, PTSD, and epileptic conditions.
Legal Age, Purchasing, and Possession of Cannabis
Adults who are into cannabis for recreational use must be at least 21 years old or above for them to be able to utilize, possess, and purchase marijuana legally. Adults who are responsible for minors who are subsequently caught in illegal possession of cannabis may be subject to misdemeanor charges and prison time.
Medical marijuana is made available to residents who are 18 years old and above. Minors who are consented to make use of the medical marijuana program will have their parents act as primary caregivers as well as aid them in administering and purchasing the medical marijuana supplies. Caregivers will likewise have to be 21 years old or above in order to qualify for the job.
Purchasing locations and possession limits:
All cannabis amounts, whether for medical or recreational uses, shall be obtained only from government-licensed dispensaries and weed shops. Any marijuana businesses that are operating in the black markets or without government-issued licenses may be subject to shutting down in addition to hefty fines.
The CCB governing body located in Guam has already established an organized framework for the building of local weed dispensaries and cannabis seed banks that will distribute marijuana supplies.
However, many of these progressions have come to a halt due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. One other option that residents of the island may have is to discreetly order their weed seeds from online seed banks.
Based on the cannabis rules and regulations of Guam, medical and adult users are allowed to buy and carry up to one ounce of usable marijuana products in addition to eight (8) ounces of cannabis oils and concentrates.
There are also various marijuana tools, accessories, and paraphernalia that are sold around the island. Residents may utilize these without having to face any misconduct charges from the law.
Consumption and Cultivation of Cannabis
The Guam government decided to keep the consumption limits of the island simple and straightforward. For both the use of medical and recreational weed, residents are only allowed to do so in private households and/or in privately owned locations.
There are currently no social lounges or cannabis shops that allow on-site smoking. Smoking inside an operating vehicle or in a parked vehicle out in public is strictly not allowed.
However, keep in mind that enforcement agencies here may be very lenient and tolerant depending on where you are on the island. Oftentimes, tourists secretly consume weed along the beaches or in hotels. Always make sure to do so secretly without drawing too much attention.
Adults who are 21 years old and above are permitted to grow up to three (3) flowering cannabis plants in addition to three (3) other seedlings. These plants must be kept enclosed and indoors in a place where the public cannot see them.
Medical patients and their caregivers may also be allowed to grow their own medical marijuana supplies. They will, however, have to first register with the DHHS and pay a growing fee of $15. Afterwards, they will be able to grow six (6) flowering cannabis plants and twelve seedlings in a given period.
The subtle island of Guam isn’t the most premier or prestigious place that you would think of when it comes to cannabis scenes. However, residents in Guam definitely appreciate the openness and acceptance of marijuana in their areas!
Guam is still a US territory, which means that it falls under the jurisdiction of the federal ban on marijuana. As such, the progress that it has made with regards to cannabis legalization is very impressive!