Marijuana Regulations Approved in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Historic step forward as Governor Bryan approves dual-use cannabis rules

  • Staff Consortium
  • May 22, 2024

In a significant step forward for the U.S. Virgin Islands' cannabis program, Governor Albert Bryan Jr. has signed off on comprehensive rules and regulations governing the use and distribution of marijuana in the territory. The announcement was made by Government House Communications Director Richard Motta during a press briefing on Tuesday.

The newly approved regulations provide a structured framework for both medicinal and adult use of cannabis. This dual approach aims to facilitate recreational cannabis use under regulated conditions while ensuring its availability for therapeutic purposes. The regulatory environment “provides special protections and benefits to medicinal cannabis users,” said Mr. Motta.

Previously circulated in draft form for public comment, the regulations outline the process for obtaining various licenses and certifications necessary for participating in the cannabis industry. These include roles such as designated caregivers, prescribing physicians, licensees, third-party vendors, and consultants. During Tuesday’s press briefing, Mr. Motta emphasized the importance of reaching out to the Office of Cannabis Regulation for those interested in getting involved.

Governor Bryan is proud of the legislative and executive efforts that have culminated in these comprehensive regulations, Mr. Motta said. Notably, the Virgin Islands is the first jurisdiction in the United States to allow for the sacramental use of cannabis, recognizing its cultural significance. "With a closed economy such as ours, the governor believes it is also important to provide opportunities for residents to participate in the program, whether as business owners, partners, employees, and of course as patients," added Motta.

In addition to facilitating legal cannabis use, the regulations address past injustices related to cannabis convictions. The new rules include provisions for the automatic expungement of certain cannabis-related crimes, allowing individuals who have been marginalized due to previous convictions to participate in the legal cannabis market. This initiative is part of a broader effort to promote social equity within the industry.

The approval from the governor marks the culmination of a long process of drafting and vetting. The regulations have been reviewed for legal sufficiency and are now ready for implementation. "For those of you who have been eagerly anticipating the rules and regulations for the adult use and medicinal cannabis rollout in the territory, they have officially been completed," announced Motta.

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