Saturday, June 16, 2007

Commonwealth of the Northern Marijuana Islands

If the reporters of the local newspapers are to be believed, Attorney General Smokin' Matty G is looking into the possibility of legalizing Marijuana in the CNMI.

I meant to enforce our existing laws....but I was high...

Are there any studies of Marijuana use in the CNMI? I'd bet good money that the percentage of people who have smoked Marijuana in the last 30 days is well over 50%, especially among the American and the Indigenous population.

With that said, I bet that there is probably strong support for this, but I doubt many people will stick their necks out to help. There is still too strong a stigma attached to drug use.

If done properly, however, legalization, or as I would prefer to say, marketization, of Marijuana in the CNMI would have some benefits, as well as many drawbacks.

The immediate drawback would be ridicule. We're already being called the Commonwealth of the Northern Marijuana Islands in Australia, Canada and the United States. There are also the health and social problems it could create in a society already addicted to betel nut, beer, tobacco, and poker machines.

Oh yeah, I bet we'd piss off the Feds, too.

On the plus side, I'm sure that the marketization of marijuana would help fill government coffers. What the government doesn't want to do is to just legalize. The government doesn't want locals growing it in their backyards and smoking it on the beach; they need tourists smoking it in locally owned smokehouses.

They'll need to set up a system where growers, sellers, and everyone in the middle needs a license and where every step along the way is taxed. Heavily. The penalties for not being licensed or not paying the taxes should be as stiff as the penalties are now for illegal use or possession.

If this is going to be done, it needs to be done properly and it needs to be done so that the benefits outweigh the negatives. Funds will have to be earmarked to help offset the health and social problems. Public Health will need money for treatment, anti-smoking campaigns, counseling, and rehab. I'm sure other government agencies, like Public Safety, will need more money to deal with the new problems that will undoubtedly arise....like say, 300+ Marines running around Garapan high as a kite.

There's also that whole organized crime thing usually associated with drugs. I'm sure Al Qaeda would love to come to a place where they can grow drugs legally. The way they do it now is just so...tiresome.

Then just to play devil's advocate, this whole plan could backfire. If this is being pushed to promote tourism, what would we do if Japan banned ALL direct flights from the CNMI because of our drug policy? That would sure suck.

Japan has an even stricter drug policy than the US. They might not appreciate our attempts to become the Amsterdam of the Pacific.

Finally, we should also be asking ourselves if we deserve better. A lot of people on this island think that the way to economic prosperity is to legalize prostitution, gambling, and drug use. Do our islands have nothing better to offer?

Look what happened to this island after our leaders decided that we should base our economy on textiles and cheap imported labor. Is the Saipan of today better than the Saipan of 30 years ago?

Now that textiles and cheap labor are on their way out, what will this island look like in 30 years if we decide to base our economy on sex, drug use, and casinos? Is that something you want for your children?

That type of economy doesn't take into account our culture, our heritage, or our natural resources. Since most people who visit here say that those things are the best things about these islands, wouldn't it make sense to base our economy on those things instead?

Imagine a system of hiking trails connecting the different parks of the CNMI Parks Systems. Imagine building our roads so that a tourist (and locals) could SAFELY ride a bike from PIC to Bird Island. Imagine if instead of building new foreign owned mega-hotels, we created a COOP of locally owned bed & breakfasts where tourists could become immersed in the local culture, practice their English, learn a little Chamorro, and eat loads of chicken kelaguin. Imagine if we redesigned our villages so that each one had a distinct look and feel and where a school, church, and grocery store was within walking distance of every home.

If we choose this path, the New Saipan will start to resemble the Old Saipan.

With all that said, I need to go smoke a phatty.

14 comments:

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

In case you are wondering, I never exhaled.

bigsoxfan said...

Much as I love a good rumor, and this is one of the best, I'm finding the concept of Matt G. to be moving legalization on his own to be a bit over the top. Time will tell, I suppose. I wouldn't be suprised to find someone over his position floating a rumor, in order to asess public opinion. Which is flaming, like the tree, so far.
Personally, if I was to describe my reaction to the AG, it would that he is an honorable and lawful public servant. I was suprised to see anyone would prefer an elected AG, but all appointed AG's aren't of his calibre or so the past has proven. But elected officials, aren't always either. The concept of an AG and governor/legislator of opposing parties would be entertaining to say the least.
Let's see how this one plays out. Good for newspaper sales this week, anyway. Signed, subject to random and often, drug screens.

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

Yeah, from what I can tell this has been blown out of proportion.

There is no way this will pass.

BoReGo said...

Have we lost our minds or only our good ideas? Could it work if we just organized the idustry? Um, considering our track record on accountability - NO. I say NIMBY.

bigsoxfan said...

Just for the record, I ran into the AG this evening, and offered him a slice of my wife's fathers' day present. To wit: a slice of chocolate cream butter cake with layers of whipped cream with milk chocolate frosting combined with cherry pie filling ("lite"), and he accepted. Unfortunately, I thought I might run into him and didn't want to embarass an otherwise fine man. So I said: "no honey, nice thought, but there are some things about smoking dope you don't know about" No how's that, a good man missed out on a slice of some fine cake, because of a bad rumor. Let's all go for some flaggelation.

bigsoxfan said...

Just for the record, I ran into the AG this evening, and offered him a slice of my wife's fathers' day present. To wit: a slice of chocolate cream butter cake with layers of whipped cream with milk chocolate frosting combined with cherry pie filling ("lite"), and he accepted. Unfortunately, I thought I might run into him and didn't want to embarass an otherwise fine man. So I said: "no honey, nice thought, but there are some things about smoking dope you don't know about" No how's that, a good man missed out on a slice of some fine cake, because of a bad rumor. Let's all go for some flaggelation.

bob said...

Please send this blog piece to the two dailies on the island so more people can read it.

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

A slightly edited version of this was published in the Tribune today:

http://www.saipantribune.com/newsstory.aspx?newsID=69600&cat=15

iko'umana'o said...

Hafa Adai! This is really becoming a heated topic now a days huh? Although it seems I am 2 yrs. behind on this post (Woops!), I would still like to add some of my two cents in here.

"There are also the health and social problems it could create in a society already addicted to betel nut, beer, tobacco, and poker machines."

After 30 years of research, the anti-marijuana National Institute on Drug Abuse's very own Donald Tashkin concluded his research with an unexpected result. "Tobacco smoking causes far more harm. And in terms of an intoxicant, alcohol causes far more harm." It is quite funny because I personally thought smoking Marijuana was way worse!!! Smoking in general is bad for your lungs but smoking marijuana is healthier than smoking tobacco according to this former opponent of marijuana! To be specific, his research stated that the elements in tobacco smoke causes cancer but the elements in marijuana smoke does not. Tobacco has been directly attributed to killing 430,000 citizens a year on average! That beats the numbers of alcohol, cocaine, heroine, murders, fires, and car accidents combined! Marijuana has 0! Zilch! Nada! There have been no cases of direct cause of death in 10,000 years of its use. If there were, the U.S. government would parade around with that information.

Hmm...you are SO RIGHT when you say the government does not want the herb legalized. What is weird is that it would actually help the CNMI. As you pointed out earlier, this stuff needs to get taxed. The CNMI government definitely needs to dip their beak in this one. Some estimates say if legalized, pot could bring upward of $1 billion in tax revenue to the state of California!! And as you also said earlier, there are a lot of tokers here in the islands and in the states. Think about smokers in the main land. They would definitely love a U.S.A. supporting, ganja loving, tropical island!!! Also, Hawai'i has a medical marijuana program and California is on the brink of marijuana legalization yet I am not sure Japanese tourists have stopped visiting.

Ahhh.... you mention kkosch ka yasch! Our beautiful culture! And our future, our children! We are truly lucky to have what God has given us and I would never want to taint such gifts. However,
keeping Marijuana illegal only makes it more available to our children if you really sit down and think about it. For many years now, children in our nation's public schools say it is much easier to get a hold of some pot than alcohol and cigarettes. Of course it is!!!! You need to be 21 with an i.d. However, with marijuana prohibition, the drug dealer on the street won't check your kids for i.d. and yes...he won't tell mommy and daddy.

Ooh! And quick comment about that word "prohibition". Do you remember how the likes of Al Capone became famous? Thanks to prohibition, violent people like him had a job. We have to start scratching our heads when we see criminals in support of laws. If legalized, the government would put criminals out of business. Who would you rather buy alcohol from? A cashier in a legit establishment? or a shady character who possibly is strapped with a 9mm and only does transactions in private? Obviously, a normal person would feel safer with the first option.

As for the violence, when was the last time you saw a normal, sober man smoke a joint, go in the house and beat his wife and children? Never! If anything, he'll beat up the refrigerator for not having snacks! Oh wait! How about cannabis users being lazy bones and unproductive? Hello! It is people who are lazy and unproductive who will smoke marijuana and become lazy and unproductive. You can't blame marijuana for their laziness! And you shouldn't say a weed smoker can't be successful when you have the current president and past two admitting to having used it.

iko'umana'o said...

My apologies for the rant and this definitely was not 2 cents. Hehe..but I enjoy discussing the topic and would love to see this openly debated amongst our lawmakers WITH other educated opinions in the mix. Have a great day and may God bless our beautiful islands! Biba CNMI!

The Saipan Blogger said...

Thanks for your comments, but I'm not sure how many people will read this from so long ago.

iko'umana'o said...

Probably not many if any, huh? Oh well...

SAiPan WEED SMOKER! said...

I'm Gonna Link this discussion up on Myspace, and Make Sure that ALot of people here see this discussion!!..Even to speak of MArijuana for Money purposes is outright stupid...Marijuana has already been proven to be healthier and WAY-LESS Addictive than Alcohol, Nicotine, and CAFFine combined...from seed all the way to harvest, There are no additional chemicals that make Marijuana different from your everyday Vegetable garden; unlike the chemicals involved in process of Cocaine to Crack...They should just legalize it and at least issue licenses to users...becuz we have to admit, weed is not made for EVERYBODY...

Have you even considered that if weed were legalized (even in the entire U.S.) that people will not even bother to buy any other drugs- and just grow their own?..This would put drug dealers out of business and a big Wave Goodbye to drug-related murders in the streets...The War ON DRUGS isn't and will never work in this lifetime, So much debt is building becuz of this Folly weed prohibition...

Use what God has given us (HErb,Fire, and Smoke), God didn't give us economic issues, we brought that upon ourselves. Those that are blinded by their greed, must seek religion, and understand the true meaning of life..

Don't be suprised if Judgment day comes and God tells the world, "Ya'll are Sad!, I gave you MArijuana to help you and you made it illegal...SaD"...lol..

ActionJackson said...

This is still a strong subject, that I agree 100% with Angelo. Saipan not only has the infrastructure and manpower to cultivate some of the highest grades of cannabis. As current journalist Adam Yamaguchi reports in his "battle of saipan" http://current.com/items/89785807_battle-of-saipan.htm

The beaches and hotels are empty and the people need work. In order to decriminalize and begin to tax, CNMI will have to embrace the culture and the lifestyle of the individuals they would like to attract to their beautiful island.
Canabus can at times if marketed properly can draw the same following as Nappa Valley does to wine lovers. Its a support system from the ground up. 1. Government support at all levels, 2. Taxation to support the local economy and reinvest in other markets that cater to the same patrons who visit the island. As any business owner will know its a lot easier selling something to an existing client than trying to sell something to a new one. Don't be defined by this. It has to be one of many reasons people will come to visit. I really love the open discussion on this post and I would love to talk and debate with other individuals on this in the future. Cheers