The head of the Northern Marianas Visitors Authority says the commonwealth’s legalisation of marijuana is concerning as key tourist markets equate its use to that of much harder drugs.
Christopher Concepcion said in their core markets of Korea, China and Japan marijuana is illegal.
He said it was seen as an illicit substance.
Mr Concepcion said legal drug use in the territory was at odds with the family-friendly image they had developed in East Asia.
He said although the CNMI is a US territory, the tourism industry was reliant on people who come from countries with far more conservative views on recreational drug use.
“The rather liberal western countries have very different views on marijuana.
“In most countries in East Asia – China, Korea, Japan – sometimes they equate marijuana with much harder drugs. You know, methamphetamine and cocaine.”
Mr Concepcion said lawmakers were currently working on legislation that would regulate marijuana use in the CNMI and but his authority had no plans to attract any new types of tourist as a result.