The U.S. Virgin Islands is poised to become the latest U.S. region to legalize adult-use cannabis after senators passed a comprehensive cannabis reforms bill and sent the measure to Gov. Albert Bryan (D), who is expected to sign the reforms into law, the Virgin Islands Consortium reports. Once fully implemented, the reforms would allow residents and visitors to purchase medical and/or recreational cannabis products from licensed dispensaries.
Lawmakers, who worked over the Christmas holiday to sort out concerns with the legalization bill, also approved a proposal to automatically expunge cannabis possession charges in the territory, the report said. The reforms were proposed in the Senate by Sens. Janelle Sarauw (I) and Angel Bolques Jr. (D).
The territory passed medical cannabis reforms four years ago but officials have yet to establish rules and regulations for the program, leaving patients and providers stuck in a multi-year limbo with no legal path to medical cannabis access. Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs Commissioner Richard Evangelista said in the report it will likely be another 18-24 months before the government can stand up the program.
Sarauw said that even now, with adult-use reforms now heading to the governor’s desk, “we have done absolutely nothing to move cannabis forward.”
“Rules and regs haven’t been promulgated, no seed-to-sale system, nothing has moved with this industry. So don’t ask for something and it come, and you don’t move on it. We’ve got to get the ball moving and put your money where your mouth is.” — Sarauw, via the Consortium
The possession of up to an ounce of cannabis is currently decriminalized in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
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