US Virgin Islands Moves Forward with Recreational Cannabis Law

US Virgin Islands Moves Forward

The US territory has approved a set of regulations for the legal use and sale of cannabis for adults, following the enactment of a law last year.

Cannabis Advisory Board Unanimously Accepts Proposed Rules

The Cannabis Advisory Board, a body appointed by the governor to oversee the implementation of the cannabis law, voted unanimously to accept a 66-page document of proposed regulations on Tuesday. The document covers various aspects of the cannabis industry, such as licensing, cultivation, testing, retail, taxation, and enforcement.

The board’s chairperson, Dr. Catherine Kean, said that the approval was a long-awaited step towards the regulation of recreational cannabis in the US Virgin Islands. “We have been waiting a very long time for this,” she said.

The proposed regulations will now be subject to a 30-day public comment period, after which the board will review the feedback and make any necessary changes before submitting the final version to the governor and the legislature for approval.

Recreational Cannabis Law Passed in January 2023

The US Virgin Islands legalized cannabis for recreational and sacramental uses in January 2023, when Governor Albert Bryan Jr. signed Act 8680 into law. The law allows adults 21 and older to possess up to two ounces of cannabis, a half ounce of concentrate, and one ounce of edible or consumable products for non-medical uses. The law also imposes an 18% tax on recreational cannabis sales, with 75% of the revenue going to the general fund and the rest allocated to various programs and agencies.

The law also amended the Virgin Islands Medical Cannabis Patient Care Act, which was passed in 2019 and allows patients with qualifying conditions to access cannabis for medical purposes. Medical cannabis patients can possess up to four ounces of cannabis, two ounces of products, or one ounce of concentrate, and are exempt from paying the 18% tax.

US Virgin Islands Moves Forward

The law also provides for the expungement of past convictions for simple cannabis possession, which affects an estimated 300 people who have been convicted in the past 20 years. The board is expected to finalize a list of eligible individuals and submit it to the legislature and the Supreme Court for approval soon.

Governor Bryan said that the law was intended to create a new and legal cannabis industry that would benefit the people of the US Virgin Islands, especially those who have been negatively impacted by the criminalization of cannabis. “It is my goal to make sure many of us who have been negatively impacted by the criminalization of cannabis are afforded every opportunity to participate in this new and legal cannabis industry,” he said.

Next Steps for the Cannabis Industry

The Office of Cannabis Regulation, which is responsible for administering and enforcing the cannabis law, will soon hold “fireside chat” meetings with stakeholders in the cannabis industry to discuss the proposed regulations and address any concerns or questions. The office will also open the application process for cultivation and dispensary licenses within the year, and expects to issue the first licenses by early 2025.

The Cannabis Advisory Board will meet again in April to review the public comments and finalize the regulations. The board will also continue to monitor the progress and performance of the cannabis industry and make recommendations for improvements or changes as needed.

The US Virgin Islands is one of the few US territories that have legalized cannabis for recreational use, along with Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. The territory hopes to attract more tourists and investors with its cannabis law, as well as generate more revenue and jobs for its residents.

By Amelia Brooks

Amelia Brooks is a seasoned senior content writer at CBD Strains Only, specializing in the cannabis niche. With a wealth of experience and a keen interest in the therapeutic properties of cannabis, Amelia brings a unique perspective to her writing. Her insightful articles aim to educate and inform readers about the latest trends and developments in the cannabis industry.

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