CNMI MPs explain vote against marijuana legalisation

9:34 am on 16 August 2018

Two politicians in the Northern Marianas have explained why they did not support the House of Representatives' decision to legalise marijuana.

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Vice speaker Janet Maratita, who abstained from last week's vote, said she believed marijuana should only be allowed for medicinal purposes.

She said she understands that those who are terminally ill or with diseases such as cancer can benefit from cannabis.

But she said she was afraid wholesale legalisation could affect federal grants given to the public school system and other state agencies.

Saipan representative Donald Barcinas, who voted against the bill, said because marijuana is still illegal to the US federal government, the CNMI could have trouble finding a bank in which to deposit revenue from its fledgling marijuana industry.

Most banks in the Northern Marianas are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, yet another US government body.

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