With 56 of 58 precincts reporting, Guam voters appear to have legalized a medical marijuana measure. Fifty six percent of voters tallied so far have supported the measure, with 44 percent opposed.
“That’s great news, and a positive omen, for marijuana reform efforts across the country,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, in a press release. “Guam is quite conservative politically, and home to a significant U.S. military presence, so this resounding victory is a confirmation of medical marijuana's broad support across the political spectrum."
Tom Angell of the Marijuana Majority agreed. "People all across the world are ready to move beyond failed prohibition laws, especially when seriously ill patients are criminalized just for following their doctors' recommendations," he said in an email.
Over at the liveblog of Project SAM, an organization that opposes medical and recreational marijuana measures, Kevin Sabet wrote that the results aren't a huge surprise. "As we had expected, Guam legalizes medical marijuana. No surprise here... Guam's law is more restrictive than the majority of mainland US laws, and it will be interesting to see how this plays out."
According to an analysis of the bill by Guam lawyer Bill Pesch, Guam's measure doesn't allow patients to grow their own marijuana plants, which most other states allow. Patients would receive a medical marijuana recommendation from a doctor, who would have to attest that "the patient has a debilitating medical condition and the practitioner believes that the potential health benefits of the medical use of cannabis would likely outweigh the health risks for the patient."
This criteria is more restrictive than in California, where patients can receive medical marijuana for any condition that would benefit from marijuana treatment. On the other hand, many other states restrict medical marijuana recommendations to only a handful of specific conditions, like epilepsy, glaucoma or cancer, which Guam's measure does not appear to do.