The US Virgin Islands are about to join the ranks of US states or territories that have legalized cannabis.
Just two months after Senator Janelle Sarauw tabled the bill to legalize adult use, the Senate easily passed it by an 11-to-1 vote. An amendment on expunging criminal records also passed unanimously.
“While this cannabis legislation has been the subject of many political misstatements, I am proud of the work done by Senators of the 34th Legislature, stakeholders and community advocates, who have all helped shape the final bill passed in session today,” Janelle Sarauw said in a press release.
“The body has exercised due diligence to protect the masses and the best interests of our residents by ensuring that locals and minorities are not excluded from the industry and have the opportunity to participate in its economic potential. . »
Possession of up to one ounce (28 grams) of cannabis was decriminalized in the US Virgin Islands in 2014. In 2019, a bill to allow cannabis for medical purposes was passed by the assembly territorial legislation.
Under the bill passed last week, residents and visitors to the Caribbean island territory will be allowed to purchase cannabis from licensed dispensaries.
“There are so many provisions in this bill across various disciplines, that when implemented and enforced with fidelity, the territory will see an industry that is inclusive and diverse, but above all safe,” Sarauw said in the release. hurry.
“I hope the current administration will implement both medical use and adult use to their fullest potential, for the benefit of the people of this territory. »
Still a few points to define for the Virgin Islands
Although the bill has been passed by a majority and has the support of the territory’s governor, some regulations to govern the cultivation and sale of cannabis have yet to be defined and will serve to create a regulated cannabis industry.
Governor Albert Bryan Jr., who has repeatedly urged lawmakers to legalize cannabis, is expected to sign the Reforms Act.
Bryan has pushed for legalization in recent years and released his own reform proposal in 2019 that stalled in the legislature. He told voters earlier this year to call Sarauw and ask why she delayed introducing her bill. The bill was finally approved by the Senate and is now heading to the governor’s office.