U.S. Virgin Islands Sen. Positive Nelson has reintroduced legislation to legalize medical cannabis in the U.S. territory, the St. Thomas Source reports. A similar measure died in the legislative Health Committee last year, which has led Nelson to request the bill be heard by the Committee of the Whole because he feels the chair of the Health Committee, Sen. Nereida Rivera-O’Reilly, has “exhibited an obvious bias against cannabis legalization in any form.”
“The overall goal of the Medical Cannabis Patient Care Act proposal is to allow patients access to the beneficial use of medical cannabis in a regulated system for alleviating symptoms caused by debilitating medical conditions and for their medical treatments,” Nelson said in a press release. “The new measure has been reviewed by policy advisors, industry leaders and others to ensure that we have a solid and comprehensive product.”
In 2014, Virgin Islands voters approved a referendum 57 percent to 43 percent asking the legislature to consider legalizing medical cannabis. Nelson said his proposal fulfills the obligation to the majority who voted ‘yes’ on the initiative.
“There should be enough support in the Senate, even if amended,” Nelson said in the report. “This is the people’s will.”
Nelson indicated this is just his first step to reforming cannabis laws on the island, saying he supports adults 21-and-older growing up to five cannabis plants “so long as they are properly enclosed and [the grower owns] the property or have landlord’s approval.”
“I also support commercial legalization for adult use, 420 zones, and cannabis festivals,” he said. “We’ll take it one step at a time.”
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