Monday, March 29, 2010

Legalizing Marijuana on Guam?

Legalizing marijuana strongly considered
Posted: Mar 29, 2010 4:15 PM
Updated: Mar 30, 2010 8:36 AM
by Heather Hauswirth

Guam - The state of California is one state that has approved of tolerating medicinal cannabis use - but it appears that the Golden State is now inching towards full legalization for individuals who are at least 21 years old. In fact, the initiative will be on a November ballot largely prompted in part by the state's budgetary deficit.

While some critics call marijuana a "gateway drug" that would merely exacerbate the drug culture, proponents argue decriminalization can save a state or territory, millions of dollars in public safety costs incurred when individuals are put in jail. Following the untimely death of Yona resident Vincent Peredo, partly attributed to stealing marijuana, one lawmaker is now considering introducing legislation similar to California's, saying the community must take a close look at the implications of decriminalizing the drug or tolerating medical users.

"Attorneys have gone on record saying in their thirty-some years of experience, they've never known anyone killed for marijuana, and there is probably some more to with that story," noted Senator Rory Respicio. The recent news that the murder of a Yona man was linked to stealing marijuana sent many in the community into shock and prompted the Democrat policymaker to consider the merits of de-criminalizing the drug.

"I don't want that issue to crowd what we are attempting to do because there is probably value in moving forward and attempting to legalize marijuana," the senator added. The added value the lawmaker is referring to includes looking beyond medicinal applications to the potential economic benefits that would stem from taxing and developing this industry as the state of California is considering.

He said, "It does have medicinal value, it's the same doctors and now economists saying beyond medicinal value, you can have an economic value to this."

Currently marijuana usage of any kind is illegal on island, but Dr. Chris Dombrowski is a family physician on Guam and a long time advocate for medical cannabis usage. He told KUAM News, "I would use cannabis in the way a lot of physicians use the benzodiazepines, Xanax or Calium, I would say fifteen percent of my patients would do well on cannabis." Dr. Dombrowski adds in this way it would serve as an anti anxiety agent, muscle relaxer and help with insomnia.

Senator Respicio says he knows it will spark debate.

Several island citizens responded to the question of whether he'd support the substance's legalization, with Flores Abina saying, "I would say no because it would cause more problems and more planting of marijuana." Asako Megofna added, "It's not for medicine, they use it to make them crazy. I've seen kids taking marijuana, but they are worse, they don't have respect," and Damaris Simeon said, "If it's for medical reasons, then yeah it should be okay.

Senator Respicio says he is interested in the response of the community to the issue noting his staff is currently deciding how to peruse this - either as an initiative or a bill that would authorize implementation within 30 days.

Senator Respicio hasn't decided yet whether he will introduce the legalization of marijuana in the form of a bill or an initiative.


babieboo_15 said...

I believe marijuana should be lagalized on Guam, and throughout the CNMI, people claim marijuana to be a "gateway" drug, and that it only leads to worse things...but really think about it...alcohol is responsible for thousands of deaths worldwide...yet it is still legal, how is alcohol any better than marijuana. Marijuana is most likely more healthy than alcohol...and I'm not only saying this because i smoke, because i don't, but if people are gonna be killed over something they could grow themselves if marijuana were legal, then leet's legalize it...if we did this just a few weeks early, we could've saved people a lot of grief, and stop those kids from throwing away their lives...

rrc said...

I got into a really bad car accident. I was passed out, and woke up in the car, i was in excruciating pain and couldn't move. My friend was lying his head on my shoulder, i didn't realize he had already died. After the accident i had many broken and fractured bones and internal bleeding. I had multiple surgeries. Now i suffer backaches due to a fractured spine, and pain on my pelvis when it rains or when i'm somewhere cold due to the metals in my pelvis. When i was hospitalized they gave me large amounts of demerol in the syringe, and percs because of all the trauma done. Even though i am prescribed to percocet for pain and respirdal for sleep now, i choose NOT to take any of it. I don't even like to take tylenol even when i know i need it. The thing is the pills have almost no affect on me unless i take a larger dose. Why can't it be necessary to to just smoke marijuana for both pain and sleep without having trouble with the law? Marijuana is NOT addictive. People who say it's addictive is only a psychological addiction. They don't NEED the high; however, they just LIKE it. I am not advocating the use of marijuana, I highly recommend prescribed marijuana for medical use to those who need it and i know many doctors will too. Be smart about it and don't use this nature for the wrong reasons.