The adult-use cannabis licensing process for the U.S. territory of Guam will finally begin at the end of the next month, opening up applications for marijuana business owners who must first pass a background check in order to submit requests for business permits. After three years of “planning” (more like dragging their feet), we couldn’t be happier to finally see some action being taken.
Adult-Use Permit Applications Are A Go
The Pacific Daily News reports that the U.S. territory of Guam’s administration will begin considering applications for adult-use permits from “responsible officials” on August 29. This opens up applications for cannabis business owners who must first pass a background check in order to submit requests for business permits.
Although the statute governing the new recreational marijuana market mandates that business licenses be accessible by August 29, it’s the government we’re talking about, so we can expect some delays. Regardless, they should eventually start accepting applications for business licenses.
However, despite the fact that local company owners have been waiting for the market’s opening for more than three years, Guam’s Cannabis Control Board said this week that the deadline for making business licenses available is likely not going to be reached.
According to the Daily News, the executives applying for licenses must first receive the approval of the Cannabis Control Board, and potential “responsible officials” must pay $1,000 to be approved for a company license, according to the Hagatna-based daily.
After that, companies must obtain approval from at least six island-level government departments, including the Department of Public Works. In the future, retailers, cultivators, manufacturers, and testing labs will all be able to obtain licenses.
Naturally, there are a few requirements for cannabis businesses and cannabis officials looking to apply for a permit in Guam:
- For a cannabis business, including applications for an establishment license and a license to operate, only “responsible officials” who have been authorized by the Cannabis Control Board can submit applications, papers, and reports.
- A responsible authority, with the exception of marijuana, must be at least 21 years old, own the company or be in charge of running it, and have no prior convictions for producing or distributing any Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance.
- The relevant official will then need to submit an application for a license to operate a cannabis establishment, which also needs to be approved by the Cannabis Control Board.
- Licensing is required for testing, manufacturing, operating retail shops, and cultivation. The regulations forbid owning or running multiple cannabis businesses.
Businesses need a license to operate as a cannabis establishment, site and floor plans for the business location, and approval from government regulatory bodies like the Department of Public Works, Guam EPA, Guam Fire Department, Guam Waterworks Authority, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Public Health and Social Services, among others, before they can get a permit to operate.
There are also some unanswered concerns, such as whether GovGuam will be permitted to use banks to store the funds it receives from the cannabis sector, for example, application fees and taxes. Despite being legal in Guam, cannabis remains prohibited under federal law, which restricts banks’ capacity to handle cannabis-related money.
Officials from GovGuam have met with the liquor and cannabis board of Washington State multiple times, and they have volunteered to assist Guam in establishing the island’s cannabis banking system and industry as a whole.
While Guam’s application process is three years late, and we’re uncertain how seamlessly the actual process will roll out, we’ll look at this as a positive sign for cannabis firms in Guam. And on a broader note, it’s a positive for the legal cannabis market’s future as a whole because although they try to delay it, the government cannot entirely squash cannabis’ growth.
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