Northern Mariana Islands Legislature Approves Marijuana Legalization Bill

Both the Senate and House of Representatives in the Northern Mariana Islands have passed a bill that would legalize marijuana for everyone at least 21 years old.

The House of Representatives voted 18 to 1 in favor of legalization. The Senate approved the measure in May. It now goes to Governor Ralph Torres for consideration; it’s unclear whether or not he will sign the bill into law.

If Governor Torres does sign the bill, or allow it to become law with no signature, those 21 and older in the U.S. territory would be allowed to possess and grow marijuana for personal use. They would also be able to purchase the plant from a licensed, regulated marijuana store.

“[T]he absence of marijuana regulations in the Commonwealth allows the existing marijuana black market operators to target persons under 21 years of age with total disregard to the safety, health and wellbeing of the youth in the Commonwealth”, states a 500-page report released by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Government and Law.

The Northern Mariana Islands has roughly 55,000 residents.

Emily Watkins is a PhD student majoring in public policy. Emily has been a freelance editor for numerous websites, and has spent hundreds of hours volunteering to help legalize marijuana. She currently resides in Los Angeles, and can be reached at

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