Guam Becomes the First U.S. Territory to Legalize Weed
Regulations for commercial sales are still being established, so pot shops aren’t up and running on the island just yet.
Published on April 4, 2019

On Thursday, Guam legalized recreational cannabis, making it the first US territory to do so.

The new law allows adults 21 and over to possess, consume, and cultivate marijuana. Regulations for commercial sales are still being established, so pot shops aren’t up and running on the island just yet.

"We must regulate this illicit drug that is the most widely used drug in our society," Governor Lou Leon Guerrero told a press conference shortly after signing Bill 32, the law which legalized recreational weed. "We have to take it and control it, monitor its use and effects, benefit from its medicinal efforts, allow our people to live in a safer environment."

The new law, called the Guam Cannabis Industry Act of 2019, was modeled after similar bills that have passed in the US. The program permits adults to grow up to six plants for personal use, but restrictions, such as no public consumption or driving while under the influence, were included as well.

The bill also establishes a cannabis regulation board that will set rules for lab testing, business licensing, manufacture and production, and packaging.

Guam approved of medical use in 2014, but by 2017, legislators were still debating over how to roll out the program.

The first US jurisdiction to legalize, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, did not pass medical legislation before it gave the greenlight to recreational cannabis last year. Most weed-friendly US states followed a pattern of legalizing medical first before introducing recreational legislation.

Two other US territories, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, approved medical use in 2015 and 2019, respectively.

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Randy Robinson
Based in Denver, Randy studied cannabinoid science while getting a degree in molecular biology at the University of Colorado. When not writing about cannabis, science, politics, or LGBT issues, they can be found exploring nature somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Catch Randy on Twitter and Instagram @randieseljay
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