US Virgin Islands advance stalled law that would allow recreational use of marijuana

US Virgin Islands advance stalled law that would allow recreational use of marijuana

SAINT JOHN (AP) — A stalled marijuana law in the U.S. Virgin Islands made a breakthrough Tuesday after an advisory board approved a list of proposed rules and regulations that would govern recreational cannabis use in the territory.

The board’s vote was a key step toward implementing a law, passed more than a year ago, that allowed recreational use of cannabis on all three islands. A 30-day public comment period on the proposed rules and regulations is scheduled to begin soon.

The board is also developing a list of people it believes are qualified to have simple possession of cannabis expunged from their records, as authorized by law. The list will be shared with lawmakers, the islands’ Supreme Court and other bodies in the coming weeks, said board member Positive Nelson.

In the last 20 years, about 300 people have been convicted of simple possession of marijuana in the US Virgin Islands.

The board also runs a registration system, and people who use cannabis for medicinal or sacramental purposes expect to have access to it in April, according to Hannah Carty, the board’s executive director.

Every two years, religious organizations will have to pay $200 to register, and medical professionals will be charged $250, officials said.

The law allows adults 21 years of age or older to possess up to 56.6 grams (two ounces) of marijuana, 14.17 grams (half an ounce) of cannabis concentrate, and 28.3 grams (one ounce) of other products, such as edibles for recreational, sacramental or other use.

Patients using medical marijuana can have up to four ounces (113.39 grams) of cannabis, one ounce (28.3 grams) of concentrate, and two ounces (56.6 grams) of other products.

A minimum 18% tax will apply to all dispensary sales, although patients using medical marijuana are exempt. Three-quarters of this revenue is expected to go into a general fund. Of that amount, 15% has been allocated for behavioral health programs, 5% for helping the homeless, and 5% for youth programs.

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