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Alleged Move To 'Decriminalize' Marijuana Slammed

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
Saipan: The Attorney General's Office became the subject of intense criticism due to an alleged proposal to legalize marijuana in the Commonwealth.

Senate Vice President Pete P. Reyes lashed at Attorney General Matthew T. Gregory who reportedly wants marijuana decriminalized in a bid to raise revenue for the government.

“Just the idea that the highest law enforcement of the land is even thinking about it is very disheartening, frightening. It gives the impression that we're so desperate to generate some money that we would sell our souls,” Reyes said.

Reyes based his statements on a confidential letter which, the Saipan Tribune learned, was sent by Health Secretary Joseph Kevin Villagomez to Gregory following a meeting several weeks ago.

The May 29, 2007 letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Saipan Tribune, stated that Gregory and Villagomez met to discuss a proposal to convene a meeting of experts that will discuss marijuana's “benefits and or lack of harm.”

Villagomez also said in the letter that, following the meeting, Gregory was hoping the health secretary would ask the Legislature to remove marijuana from the CNMI's list of controlled substance.

Press secretary Charles P. Reyes Jr. denied that Gregory is pushing for the legalization of marijuana. However, he said the AGO is in contact with people who want to hold the conference.

He also said the administration has not take a position on making marijuana legal in the CNMI, but it approves of an open debate on the issue.

“No definite commitment has been made with regard to this proposal. The AGO will not do anything without the consent of the governor. We support an open discussion. We should let the people decide what they think is right,” Reyes said.

Villagomez declined Gregory's proposal. Citing his 15-year experience as a substance abuse professional, Villagomez said he could not ignore the physical and psychological damage that he had seen drugs, including marijuana, cause to people.

He also expressed concern that legalizing marijuana would result in more broken families, traffic accidents, and teen addiction, among other things. He noted that DPH would have to deal with these likely consequences.

In addition, he said the proposal would have political repercussions against the administration.

“Matt, I fully support any attempts that will generate increase revenue to the CNMI. We all know and live in these poor economic conditions. However, I also cannot support a move that I know will cause more harm than good.

“In addition, this generate negative public reaction for the administration once it becomes public knowledge. If the governor is onboard with this plan then I respectfully ask the governor to call for such a meeting. Sine the Legislature will be the ultimate body that will remove marijuana from the listing, may they should be the one to call for such a meeting,” Villagomez said.

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Source: Saipan Tribune
Author: Agnes E. Donato
Contact: Saipan Tribune
Copyright: Saipan Tribune
Website: Saipan Tribune
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