Medical Marijuana Bill Signed Into Law by U.S. Virgin Islands Governor

U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan Jr. signed the Medical Cannabis Patient Care Act into law Tuesday.

The bill, sponsored by Senator Positive T.A. Nelson, received final approval from the Legislature on December 28.  The measure legalizes medical marijuana for those who receive a recommendation from a physician.

Comprehensive medical marijuana laws have been adopted in 32 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Seventeen other states have adopted medical marijuana laws that are ineffective because they are either unworkable or exceptionally restrictive. Idaho is the only state and American Samoa is the only U.S. territory without any form of medical marijuana law.

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Cannabis Possession Now Decriminalized in U.S. Virgin Islands

Legislation virginislandsdecriminalizing the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis in the United States Virgin Islands became law on Friday after the Senate voted unanimously to override Governor’s John P. DeJongh’s veto.

Under the new law – which was included as a provision in the territory’s 2015 budget, and line-item vetoed by Governor DeJongh –  the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis is no longer an arrestable offense, but instead is a ticket of no more than $200. If someone under 18 is caught in possession of up to an ounce of cannabis, they’ll receive an $100 fine, their parents will be notified and they will be required to complete a drug awareness program. Under previous law, the possession of any amount of cannabis was a potential year-long prison sentence, in addition to a potential $5,000 fine.

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Senate Committee Unanimously Approves Cannabis Decriminalization Bill in U.S. Virgin Islands

The U.S. Virgin Island’s Senate Committee on Homeland Security, Public Safety and Justice has voted 5 tovi 0 to approve Bill 30-0018, a proposal to decriminalize recreational cannabis.

Under the approved law, which now heads towards a full Senate vote, the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis will be decriminalized for those of all ages, reducing the charge from an arrestable misdemeanor, to a simple $100 to $200 ticket. If an individual caught possessing up to an ounce of cannabis is under 18, they’ll also be required to complete a drug awareness course, and their parents will be notified of the charge.

Read moreSenate Committee Unanimously Approves Cannabis Decriminalization Bill in U.S. Virgin Islands