Last month the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), a U.S. territory in the Pacific Ocean east of the Philippines, voted to legalize recreational marijuana. And now it's officially law.
CNMI Governor Ralph Torres officially signed the bill to legalize recreational marijuana in the U.S. territory. The CNMI becomes the first non-state U.S. territory to legalize marijuana. When the territory's legislature passed the bill last month, it wasn't clear if Torres would sign it. But the governor welcomed the new law and said it's a historical moment for the territory.
"Today, our people made history. We took a stand to legalize marijuana in the CNMI for recreational, medical, and commercial use," Torres said.
It isn't quite clear how the federal government will handle the territory legalizing marijuana. So far it's largely stayed out of interfering in states with legalized marijuana, but territories don't necessarily have as much right to self-governance as states. But so far no one has made any comment on the move, although that may have something to do with the size of the territory. Only a little over 50,000 people live in the CNMI, which is the smallest population of America's populated territories.
But perhaps this will bring renewed interest to the islands and make it a new popular vacation spot for Americans.