History of CBD and Cannabis: Virgin Islands
In December of 2014, the United States Virgin Islands made a landmark decision that would set the stage for all other territories. The islands’ single house legislature voted to unanimously reject Governor DeJongh’s attempt to veto cannabis decriminalization from next year’s budget.
Before decriminalization, cannabis possession could be punished by a year in jail, exorbitant fines, and a criminal record that would bar the user from certain employment opportunities. Now, carrying small amounts of cannabis amounts to a criminal offense and only incurs a small fine.
The passage of decriminalization had paved the way for future changes to the islands’ laws concerning medical cannabis and full legalization.
Cannabis, CBD, and the Virgin Islands
Although Virgin Islands residents are frequent users of cannabis, the islands themselves produce poor quality crop output. Terrain is rocky, the climate is arid, and cultivation sites produce sparse yield. In effect, users have resorted to international criminal cannabis trade in order to secure marijuana, especially since local marijuana is considered poor quality.
Much of the territory’s law enforcement has been focused on the issues of rooting out marijuana use. However, simply penalizing those who possess cannabis amounted to a loss of territory revenue and police resources that were stretched thin.
A report released by the National Drug Intelligence Center outlined the different distribution networks running through the island and local law enforcement’s inability to stamp them out.
Like many other areas in the world, the US Virgin Islands has opted to change its stance towards cannabis over the past few years. In large part, this is due to vocal residents that have been pushing for decriminalization.
In 2014, one poll revealed that over 56 percent of US Virgin Islands residents were in support of considering medical marijuana for the 2015 ballot. This directly followed a similar resolution that passed just two years prior, which called for the formal legalization of hemp production, use, and sales in the territory.
Even more recently, the territory has finally opted to sign a medical marijuana act into law. With a doctor’s recommendation, patients will be able to legally possess and use up to four ounces of marijuana for the treatment of their qualifying condition.
Unlike many other territories, the new policy has clearly and definitively outlined how medical marijuana will be dispensed, in addition to clarifying what governmental organizations will be involved in vetting the product.
Many residents are very hopeful about the full legal future of marijuana, cannabis, and CBD products on the Virgin Islands.