After four years in the making, medical marijuana is finally legal in the U.S. Virgin Islands — St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John.
Wasting no time, newly appointed Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. (D), signed the “Virgin Islands Medical Cannabis Patient Care Act” into law on Saturday, January 12, 2019. “I have approved the Virgin Islands Medicinal Cannabis Care Act because it is a step in the right direction toward assisting Virgin Islanders suffering from autoimmune and other debilitating medical conditions,” Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. said.
Which Conditions Qualify for Medical Marijuana in USVI?
Any patient suffering from one of the qualifying medical conditions will be eligible to receive a recommendation for medical cannabis from a licensed physician.
Qualifying conditions include:
- Hepatitis C
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
- Traumatic brain injury
- Hospice care
- Parkinson’s disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Chronic pain
- Neuropathic pain
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Severe and persistent muscle spasms
“I believe a properly regulated medicinal cannabis industry can provide relief to those seeking alternatives to conventional medicine and can also be an economic driver attracting new revenues for the Virgin Islands,” Gov. Bryan said.
According to the Virgin Islands Medical Cannabis Patient Care Act, licenses will be issued for cultivators, testing labs, product manufacturers, and retail dispensaries. Approved patients will be issued registration cards.
Patients residing in the Virgin Islands will be permitted to possess up to four ounces of cannabis, and they will also be able to apply for a permit to cultivate at home. Patients who do not live in the Virgin Islands will only be allowed to possess up to three ounces at a time.
Big Win for Senator Nelson
Senator Terrence “Positive” Nelson, the bill’s main sponsor, has been fighting for cannabis policy reform in the U.S. Virgin Islands since 2014 when the legislation he introduced to decriminalize possession of up to one ounce was approved by the Legislature.
“After such a prolonged beating, I don’t know how to feel, except relieved for the people who will finally have access to healthy, effective, and affordable medicinal cannabis,” Sen. Nelson said in a text message to Marijuana Moment. “I feel redeemed and excited that the effort went from ‘laughable’ to law!”
Sen. Nelson plans to continue to participate in the rollout of his legalization amendment. “I am ready to assist with the establishment of rules and regulations which will be the next step,” Nelson said. “However, each jurisdiction cannot be satisfied with our own success in getting local law changed, but must continue the charge until there are changes to federal government law.”