The U.S. Virgin Islands is poised to legalize cannabis after lawmakers passed an adult-use cannabis legalization bill Dec. 30, sending it to the governor’s desk.
Gov. Albert Bryan is expected to sign the legislation into law, according to the St. Kitts and Nevis Observer, and the measure is already veto-proof after 11 senators voted in favor.
Lawmakers passed both the bill to legalize marijuana and the bill to automatically erase the records of people who have been convicted of crimes related to cannabis.
Sen. Janelle Sarauw introduced the pair of bills in October. She said Friday that several steps still need to be taken to implement an adult-use cannabis market.
“Cannabis will be on the governor’s desk in no time, and we have done absolutely nothing to move cannabis forward,” Sarauw said, according to the Observer. “We bawl, I get attacked in debates about cannabis, and it will be on the governor’s desk—rules and regulations haven’t been promulgated, there is no seed-to-sale tracking system, nothing has moved with this industry,” she said.
Voters in the 2014 election made it legal for medical cannabis to be used. The Virgin Islands are now getting ready to open a medical cannabis market. The Legislature passed the Medical Cannabis Patient Care Act in 2018 to implement the program, and the Virginia Cannabis Advisory Board (VICAB) approved the final draft rules for the program in August.
The medical cannabis market is expected to launch sometime this year, and if Bryan signs off on the adult-use legalization bill, Virgin Islands residents will be able to purchase both medical and adult-use cannabis from licensed dispensaries once they are operational.