Gov. Eddie Calvo’s bill to legalize marijuana on island could be thwarted by a White House initiative.

The White House recently announced federal law enforcement may begin targeting states where marijuana is legal. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said he believes such states “will see greater enforcement of” federal drug laws. Marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance.

Spicer said the federal crackdown would only focus on the recreational usage, while continuing to allow medicinal programs to stand.

“When you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming around so many states, … the last thing we should be doing is encouraging people,” Spicer said. “There is still a federal law we need to abide by in terms of when it comes to recreational marijuana and other drugs of that nature.”

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Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized the sale and taxation of marijuana for adult recreational usage.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions — an ardent opponent of marijuana — said the Justice Department intends to adopt responsible policies when it comes to enforcing the federal government’s marijuana laws, according to the New York Daily News. Sessions also has said there’s a correlation between marijuana sales and violence.

“Experts are telling me there’s more violence around marijuana than one would think,” Session said.

Home cultivation

Calvo recently visited the nation’s capital. Troy Torres, Adelup special policy adviser, said the governor had spoken with someone in Trump’s administration about the marijuana crackdown, but didn’t say what was discussed. While the governor believes his bill still could work, Torres said, Calvo may begin looking into a home cultivation measure for the medical marijuana program.

Torres said Calvo’s new proposal would differ from former Sen. Tina Muña Barnes’ home cultivation bill, which the governor had vetoed last term because he believed it called for too much regulatory action.

“The governor’s bill is something that can work, but if it can’t because of the president’s crackdown, then we want to be able to allow home cultivation,” Torres said.

Calvo’s plan is to tax the recreational use of marijuana, using the added revenue source to help sustain Guam’s medical marijuana program.

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Move forward

Women Grow Guam President Andrea Pellacani said she believes lawmakers should continue moving forward with the governor’s bill, which is currently under Speaker Benjamin Cruz’s purview as the head of the Legislature’s Appropriations and Adjudication Committee.

“Absolutely, I think we should continue moving forward. We still have an opportunity. It’s going to take some time … we have a few more public hearings,” Pellacani said. “We should continue moving forward. If there were federal issues, that would be good to come to the table.”

Pellacni also said while the White House’s comments on marijuana are concerning,  it’s too early to know exactly the Trump administration is planning.

“It’s still too early to say what those comments really mean. For all we know, they’re going to crack down on illicit businesses,” she said. “The comments are concerning, absolutely, but we feel confident that there’s been enough cannabis reform that it’d be harder to address it.”

With so much revenue at stake, Pellacani said, states aren’t just going take the issue lying down.

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Measured approach

Cruz has scheduled a series of public hearings for the marijuana bill, the first of which took place last month. Many residents expressed support for the measure.

Cruz acknowledged the nation’s history of states fighting federal statutes. He said he expects the issue would be taken up in federal court.

“This isn’t the first time that federal statutes conflict with laws adopted by the several States and it won’t be the last,” Cruz said in an email. “In the final analysis, I believe the federal courts may again have to settle what traditional politics cannot — requiring us to take a more measured approach in the weeks and months ahead.”

Cruz said he would support proposals that helped qualified patients attain medical marijuana.

“In this spirit, I would meaningfully consider any proposal that would get patients the medicine they need, … patients whose only sin was being sick and needing our help,” he said.

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