On Jan. 18, a signing ceremony was held to doc Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. signing The Virgin Islands Hashish Use Act (Act 8680), and proclaiming that anybody who has been convicted with easy hashish possession is invited to use for a pardon.
“From the start of the Bryan-Roach Administration, we’ve labored in direction of the legalization of the grownup use of hashish, and at present, with the onerous work of the members of the thirty fourth Legislature and prior Legislatures and the efforts of my group, we’re lastly right here and eventually signing into regulation the Virgin Islands Hashish Use Act,” Bryan mentioned in a press release. “This Act incorporates key elements of my unique proposal, reminiscent of one streamlined regulatory scheme for each medicinal and grownup use, enforcement powers for the Workplace of Hashish Regulation, entrepreneurship and job alternatives for Virgin Islands residents, and the creation of a income stream to assist fund essential Authorities initiatives and operations.”
The regulation permits adults over 21 to own as much as two ounces of hashish, 14 grams of concentrates, and one ounce of hashish merchandise (outlined as edibles, ointments, or tinctures). It additionally contains the requirement to create an Workplace of Hashish Regulation, limitations on enterprise licenses and permits, allowances for individuals who use hashish as a sacrament, route for hashish gross sales tax funds to profit group packages, and extra.
On the ceremony, Bryan talked about his expertise touring to Colorado in November with numerous different lawmakers to see firsthand how the hashish trade thrives. “By touring to Denver and assembly and talking with people concerned in all elements of the trade from regulators, to regulation enforcement officers, to cultivators, producers and dispensary house owners, it’s my hope that the people concerned with the roll-out of this trade have discovered greatest practices and what to keep away from as we work to create this trade within the Virgin Islands,” Bryan continued.
He additionally addressed President Joe Biden’s announcement from October 2022 relating to expungement for residents who have been convicted of easy hashish possession. “As we speak, I proclaim that every one legal convictions for the straightforward possession of marijuana underneath the Virgin Islands Code are absolutely and utterly pardoned,” Bryan introduced. “My workplace estimates that roughly 300 people have been convicted of the straightforward possession of marijuana within the final 20 years.”
Anybody convicted with easy hashish possession within the U.S. Virgin Islands might now apply for a pardon with the Depart of Justice. For individuals who have been convicted of as much as two ounces of hashish, the Virgin Islands Hashish Use Act and the Expungement Act mechanically expunges their file. Nevertheless, Bryan recommends that one of the best ways to make sure that the expungement goes by way of is to use anyway. “Don’t look forward to the alternatives to come back to you, exit and seize them,” he mentioned.
Like many states, it has taken a while for the U.S. Virgin Islands to ascertain each a medical and adult-use program. Whereas residents voted to legalize medical hashish in 2014, it wasn’t till 2019 that Bryan signed the act into regulation. Draft rules for the territory’s medical hashish program have been revealed in August 2022.
On Dec. 30, 2022, the U.S. Virgin Islands Senate handed Act 8680 invoice in a 11-1 vote. The invoice made its option to Bryan’s desk on Jan. 9, permitting him 10 days to decide to signal the invoice, veto it, or to let it take impact with out his signature. Bryan signed the invoice simply in the future earlier than the deadline.