Guam moves ahead with medical-marijuana ballot

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HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — An election official in Guam says a medical-marijuana vote will go forward as planned on the November ballot unless told otherwise.

Last week, an attorney filed a federal lawsuit to stop the vote. Lawyer Howard Trapp says the Legislature can't legally "pass the buck" to voters when it comes to passing legislation.

A U.S. District Court judge has given the Guam Election Commission until Oct. 7 to respond to the lawsuit.

The commission's executive director, Maria Pangelinan, says the commission will continue with the vote until the court or its lawyers tell her to stop, the Pacific Daily News reported (

The commission earlier raised the same concerns as Trapp about the legislative submission process. It initially refused to prepare the marijuana question for the ballot. But the island's Supreme Court on Aug. 5 decided the process was valid.

The Supreme Court said the law "grants the people of Guam the right of initiative and referendum." It said referendums may be initiated either by the people or the Legislature.

Sen. Tina Muña Barnes, D-Mangilao, who wrote the act to let voters decide the fate of medical marijuana, said she's frustrated by the lawsuit because the Supreme Court already has acted. "To see a monkey wrench get thrown in there is very disappointing," she said.

Sen. Aline Yamashita, R-Tamuning, who co-sponsored the legislation, said: "It's another bump and, like other bumps, we'll get through it."


Information from: Pacific Daily News:

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