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Rodriguez asks AGO & USA to issue guidance to Guam doctors

For immediate release, December 11, 2017

Call Joan Aguon at 649-8638 for more info.


(Tamuning, Guam) The federal government can’t take any action against Guam doctors, who recommend to their qualified patients the use of medical cannabis. This recommendation - so long as it isn’t a prescription - is among the most protected of free speech rights, according to the law of the land set by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in its decision in Conant v. Walters.


“The Controlled Substance Act prohibits physicians from prescribing Schedule 1 controlled substances, such as marijuana,” summarized Colorado-based attorneys Shawn Hauser and Chloe Grossman from the firm Vicente Sederberg, LLC. “However, applicable law, as affirmed by the 9th Circuit in Conant v. Walters case , allows physicians to recommend the potential use of medical cannabis where the physician does not assist the patient in procuring the cannabis, but merely discusses the potential use of medical marijuana with a patient and recommends the same without prescribing the patient with directions/orders as to how to obtain and use such marijuana.”


Request made to end 

chilling effect on doctors, 

get the law off the ground

The summary comes from an 18-page legal opinion answering Sen. Dennis Rodriguez’s inquiry into the protections doctors on Guam have if they choose to recommend cannabis to their patients, who are qualified under the law. The attorneys who worked on this opinion have extensive experience and background in legal maturity of medical and adult-use cannabis laws passed over the years in the several states and territories. 


The senator asked for the opinion in order to stop the growing fear among Guam doctors that their participation in the medical cannabis program will result in their prosecution by the federal government, or the revoking of their DEA licenses.


Request for Barrett Anderson & 

the acting USA to issue legal guidance

“I was alerted to a case [Conant] that originated in California and provides the answer doctors need to remove that fear and its chilling effect from their ability to write recommendations for cannabis use for their patients,” Sen. Rodriguez wrote in a letter sent last night to the Attorney General of Guam and the U.S. Attorney for Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. That section of the letter goes on to read, “After reading the decision in Conant v Walters, my office sought legal confirmation and further understanding of where doctors stand and what their rights are. We can reason that if they knew they were well within their rights to recommend cannabis for medical purposes to their patients, then the law transforms from a bunch of words on paper, to the regulatory framework of a blooming industry.” 


The senator, who has taken up the de facto role of an elected official trying to carry out the law mandated directly by voters, is asking Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett Anderson and acting U.S. Attorney Shawn Anderson to review the Vicente Sederberg opinion and issue guidance to the medical community on Guam.


If neither of you will provide the advice needed to properly inform doctors of their rights - and if no compelling reason can be made to me to the contrary by Legislative Counsel - I am determined to inform doctors of their rights myself.” - Rodriguez to Barrett Anderson and Anderson 


Though much of the business side of the medical cannabis law can’t be implemented until rules and regulations are in place and other measures come into play, the protection granted to medical cannabis qualified patients, their caregivers, and to doctors has been in effect since the law went into effect. The only thing that has held back these residents from participating with this protection is the inability for doctors to know their rights so they can issue recommendations. That recommendation essentially is the evidence a qualified patient needs in order to be free from prosecution under local and federal law.


The Vicente Sederberg opinion covers an extensive discussion on federal law applicable to the Guam mandate on medical cannabis, and will help residents to understand the extent of their rights, including their free speech rights. It is attached for media review and distribution. The senator’s letter to the Guam AG and the acting USA also is attached.


-end of release-

The Committee on Legislative Operations, Chairman, Senator Dennis G. Rodriguez, Jr., along with Speaker Benjamin J.F. Cruz and the Members of I Liheslaturan Guahan invite the people of Guam to their First Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration.
The tree lighting celebration will kick off the Christmas season for the Guam Legislature with an impressive display of Christmas trees and other holiday decor.
"As we usher in the most wonderful time of the year, we invite all our people to come and visit us at the Historic Guam Congress Building and experience the history that our home possesses while enjoying the sights and sounds of Christmas." Senator Rodriguez stated.
The celebration will kick off at 6pm on Friday, December 1, 2017, with entertainment by the Guam High School JROTC Drill Team, the Tamuning Elementary School Honor Choir and the Liguan Elementary School Honor Choir.
The Guam Congress Building will continue to spread holiday cheer every Friday evening with an Open House on December 8, 15, 22, 29, 2017 and January 5, 2018, from 5pm to 9pm. With entertainment at 7pm during those evenings (except on Dec. 8.)
For more information, please contact the office of Sen. Rodriguez at 649-8638/0511 or Joe Mesngon at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Si Yu'os Ma'ase'!

Sen. Dennis Rodriguez is asking for participation from anyone who wants to make sure the rules of Guam's new medical cannabis industry are done right. He wants residents to look at the draft rules, and start sending him their comments and suggestions for changes at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Anyone can access a draft of the medical cannabis rules and regulations that the Department of Public Health and Social Services put together. Simply click on THIS LINK, or 

  1. go to
  2. click on "Bills," 
  3. choose "34th Guam Legislature," 
  4. then find and click on Bill No. 210-34. That bill contains the draft.


This is the draft that will receive two public hearings and a markup meeting through the first half of December before the full Legislature either passes or passes up a final set of rules.


"The rules that Public Health proposed can very well change if citizens come to the table and propose reasonable changes," Sen. Rodriguez said. "My committee wants to hear as many relevant viewpoints as possible. We want there to be a healthy debate about these rules. Every rule has to make sense. At the end of the day, these rules need to govern an industry in a way that provides the best care for patients. This is about the patients."


The senator is asking residents to read the rules and send him their suggestions and changes prior to the first public hearing, which is next week Tuesday, December 5.


"This is your chance to change whatever you don't like about these rules BEFORE they go into effect," the senator wrote on his Facebook page, 'People First - Sen. Dennis Rodriguez, Jr.' "Please email me at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  with any questions or concerns or proposed changes you want to make to these rules."

Two public hearings and a public markup have been scheduled tentatively for the medical cannabis program's draft rules and regulations. Sen. Dennis Rodriguez, Jr. hopes his committee can report out a final draft for the legislature's approval before Christmas.
"What comes of this will be a newly-regulated industry, so I'm hoping for the best minds on all sides of this issue to participate in these hearings and markup," Sen. Rodriguez said. "I'm inviting everyone to the table."
In anticipation of Rules Committee referral to the senator's committee, Rodriguez has scheduled the following on the legislative calendar:
First public hearing
Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 5:30 p.m. in the Guam Congress Building
The committee will receive testimony for the first time on the draft rules and regulations. Comments from this hearing will form the foundation for discussions during the public markup.
Public markup meeting
To be scheduled between the two public hearings; to be announced.
The committee will facilitate debate on the draft rules and regulations, starting with the sections of the draft most contested during the first public hearing. The result of this discussion and debate will be changes, or the markup, of the draft, and its transformation into a final draft. This markup will be publicly distributed in time for all interested to go over and comment during the second public hearing.
Second public hearing
Thursday, Dec. 14 at 2 p.m. in the Guam Congress Building
This is when the final draft of the rules and regulations will be publicly heard, in case substantial changes were made to the first draft. The committee likely will report the bill with the marked up and final draft rules and regulations to the full Legislature for consideration.
You may find the draft rules and regulations attached to Bill No. 210-34 on the Legislature's website,, or by clicking the following link: Medical cannabis draft rules & regulations.