The cannabis industry has so far created 32 jobs and generated up to $171,978 in gross monthly revenue (not taxes as previously reported), the CNMI Cannabis Commission told a House panel.
The commission’s chief executive, Monique Sablan, made a presentation at a meeting with the House Cannabis Committee on Tuesday. She was accompanied by Commission Chair Nadine Deleon Guerrero, Vice Chair Matt Deleon Guerrero and Treasurer Valentino Taisakan.
Because the committee chair, Rep. Denita Yangetmai, was on sick leave, Rep. Celina Babauta moderated the meeting, which began at 10 a.m. in the House Chamber. Also present were Representatives Joel Camacho, Leila Staffler, Corina Magofna and Vicente Camacho.
Sablan began the presentation by updating the committee on what the cannabis industry has been through since the enactment in September 2018 of Public Law 20-66 or the Taulamwar Sensible CNMI Cannabis Act of 2018 which legalizes marijuana for medical purposes and recreation in the Commonwealth.
She said it was August 4, 2020, when the commission began accepting commercial and non-commercial license applications online.
The following month, she said the commission had received about 10 applications.
To date, the CNMI cannabis industry has created a total of 17 jobs in marijuana production operated by five different licensees, namely T-Marianas, Saipan Select, CanaMarianas, Max Farms and Primo Farms 670. positions include farm assistant, producer, head grower, assistant grower, production manager, assistant production manager and cannabis technician. Their annual salaries range from $6,864 to $41,000.
Total annual salaries “that go into people’s pockets” in the cannabis industry are $379,964, Sablan said.
On the retail side, 15 jobs were created, she added. These include Retailer Sales Associate, Operations Manager, Security Guard, Buds Attendant, Store Manager, Retail Operations Manager and Retail Manager . Their annual salaries range from $6,630 to $30,000.
The total salaries paid by cannabis retail businesses is $203,546.
Sablan said it was July last year when they started seeing how much money licensees could make.
She shared the gross business income tax information the commission obtained from the Revenue and Taxation Division.
The data indicates that there has been consistent growth in commercial cannabis revenue except during the months of September and October 2021, she said.
As of July 2021, gross cannabis revenue was $81,465.44; in August it was $143,159.49; in September, $76,269.92; in October, $64,151.02; in November, $118,765.78; and in December, $171,978.78.
Sablan said “we’ve only really seen the industry grow in terms of money since July.”
She looks forward to the opportunity to present a progress report that will cover the period up to July 2022.
She thinks the commission will bring back “better numbers”, adding that the numbers she presented on Tuesday were based on six months of information and data, “which I think is not that bad but I think that there’s so much more information to be gained if we’re going to have just a little more time to see this growth really happen.”
Sablan thanked the committee for giving them the opportunity to present the progress of the cannabis industry to the CNMI. “We are more than happy to come back and provide more information,” she added.