Guam legalizes recreational use of marijuana

HAGATNA, Guam — The governor of Guam has signed into law recreational use of marijuana on the U.S. island territory.

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero signed the bill Thursday — a week after the Legislature narrowly passed the legislation that allows people ages 21 and older to possess up to an ounce (28 grams), the Pacific Daily News reported .

"We must regulate this illicit drug that is the most widely used drug in our society," the governor said. "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."

People won't be able to legally purchase marijuana until regulations are developed by the new Cannabis Control Board and approved by the Legislature.

The board has up to year to form the rules. The law tasks the nine-member board with overseeing cannabis testing, manufacturing, licensing and packaging.

Guam also needs a cannabis testing facility before sales can begin, Sen. Clynt Ridgell said.

"This has been and continues to be a community issue, but the fight is not over yet," Ridgell said in a statement. "I invite the public to remain focused on continuing to provide input in the development of the rules and regulations by the Cannabis Control Board for safe, adult use cannabis."

The law allows growing as many as six plants for personal use. It prohibits people from using marijuana in public or driving under the influence.

Under the law, employers can still enforce drug-free workplaces.

"Nothing changes in the policies of our workplace as responsible businesses and agencies," the governor said. "We must continue to enforce zero-tolerance of substance abuse in the workplace."

Guam voters approved medical marijuana in 2014.

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