Pacific U.S. territory may vote on recreational MJ legalization

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The Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory closer to Japan than to California, may wind up voting on whether or not to legalize recreational cannabis this fall.

A local Mariana Islands lawmaker is pushing a bill to place a referendum before residents to legalize cannabis for all uses, including medical and recreational, the Denver Post reported, citing various local news outlets.

“The public through our hearings have expressed their desire for full legalization,” Sen. Sixto K. Igisomar, the bill’s proponent, said, according to the Marianas Variety. “I think it would be wise to bring this question to the people to vote on this initiative.”

If the measure is passed by the legislature and signed by the governor,  Northern Mariana Islands residents would have to approve the bill in a vote for it to become law.

Other U.S. territories have made headway on cannabis reform: Puerto Rico last year legalized medical marijuana when its governor signed an executive order to that end, and Guam voters approved MMJ in 2014.