Updated on January 30, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
Some countries have strict regulations regarding all cannabis use, even as medicine. So, as either a citizen or visitor, you should know about a nation’s policies on marijuana. Learning about medical marijuana laws lets you medicate safely and legally without worry.
Guamanian voters approved of legal medical marijuana in 2014. But, the government has yet to finalize laws and regulations at the time of writing, three years later. As of the beginning of 2018, legislators have created some rules for Guam’s medical cannabis program, but patients still can’t legally obtain medicine.
However, when the medical cannabis bill is implemented, it could serve patients who live in Guam, as well as foreign visitors. As part of revisions to the draft of Guam’s regulations, lawmakers removed the residency requirement. They believe that this change could create opportunities for medical tourism.
When Guam officially implements its medical marijuana laws, they will run a medical marijuana program that resembles those from other countries. To legally purchase marijuana medicine, a patient must register for a medicinal cannabis card. Signing up involves completing an application that includes a certification from a doctor. The program also oversees cannabis cultivators, producers, dispensaries and labs.
Patients with the following conditions can join Guam’s medical marijuana registry:
Patients in hospice care or with a doctor’s approval can also qualify.
While Guam has not officially decriminalized marijuana, it has to some degree. A first-time offender with no previous drug charges can complete probation to have the offense removed from their record. And, if someone possesses less than an ounce of cannabis, they only have to pay a fine up to $100.
However, Guam harshly punishes any other kind of marijuana offense. Distributing cannabis can result in at least a decade of jail time and a $50,000 fine. Distribution to a minor adds three years to the sentence. Carrying more than an ounce of cannabis or having any amount in a school zone can also land you in prison.
The biggest limitation in Guamanian medical marijuana laws is how long they have taken to get finalized and implemented. Even though Guam technically considers cannabis medicine legal, patients still don’t have legal access to relief. In 2016, Governor Eddie Calvo vetoed a bill that would have allowed patients to grow their own medicine, ruling out that option.
In addition, participating in Guam’s medical marijuana program will not protect participants from every cannabis-related offense. For example, patients and caregivers will still receive punishment for driving under the influence of marijuana or medicating in public spaces.
Patients who participate in Guam’s medical marijuana program will take advantage of legal protections that allow them to medicate without fear. As long as they don’t exceed the patient possession limit of 2.5 ounces, they cannot receive a penalty for possessing or using marijuana. Caregivers also receive protections from possession charges.
Doctors can also recommend medical marijuana without punishment. As long as they follow the proper regulations, they can’t be persecuted for certifying a patient.
Friends and loved ones of patients will also avoid penalties for being around marijuana medicine — they are not permitted to use it, however.
Countries all over the world are realizing the healing properties of cannabis medicine. However, with this revolution comes plenty of legislation changes, as leaders sort things out. In Guam’s case, legislators are still adjusting regulations before making them final. Get news and updates from MarijuanaDoctors.com to keep up with the ever-changing world of medical marijuana.