America’s Earliest Wake ‘n’ Bake Still Being Held Back by Lawmakers

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There has been a lot of talk in Cannabis news about the unincorporated U.S. territory of Guam and how its people have begun to throw off the yolk of prohibition by legalizing medical marijuana.

Unfortunately, that is not quite the full story.

To find the 212-square-mile island on a globe, trace lines due south from Tokyo and due east from Manila. Where the lines intersect (about fifteen hundred miles in each direction) will be pretty much right on top of Guam, at the latitude and longitude of 13.4443° North, 144.7937° East, to be overly specific—which, indeed, the local legislators here were not when voters passed an open-ended medical marijuana referendum put forward by the Guam Senate that simply asked if cannabis for medical use should be legal.

The proposition was overwhelmingly approved in 2014, leaving the details of how the proposal would be implemented up to the elected officials, with some of them being very enthusiastic about the idea. 

The wrangling began immediately over how the anticipated cash cow would be butchered. The local grandees, who are Guam’s nexus of political and economic power, tried as hard as they could to completely control the coming bonanza. The Guam Senate put forth a plan based upon Arizona’s first failed attempt to legalize, which outlawed homegrown reefer, along with the same self-serving stipulations to ensure all the money would flow into the pockets of people in their circle of influence.

It seemed like a solid plan to the folks who put it forth, but the people wouldn’t have it and the public rebelled.

The idea that you couldn’t plant your own “Garden of Eden,” and in fact would still suffer under penalty of law if you did, went down hard but unfortunately not fast.

After years of letters to editors, public hearings, TV talking-heads blathering on and all the rest of the burble of political discourse, a seemingly reasonable six plant homegrown allowance has been proposed, and perhaps finally (we would hope) ganja will sprout among the taro, bread fruit, plantains and bananas out beyond the international dateline—”Where America’s Day Begins!”

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