On August 10, the VI Cannabis Advisory Board (VICAB) of the U.S. Virgin Islands unanimously approved a draft regulation of the medical cannabis program. August 12, Office of Cannabis Control published a draft, will remain online for a 30-day public comment period ending September 11th. In addition to this, an in-person meeting will be held on August 31st.
According to the current draft, licenses will be available immediately within the next three months, with a cultivation license on October 3rd, a research and development license on October 26th, a manufacturing license on December 5th, and finally on December 12th. A dispensing license is obtained on the 27th of the month. Proposals for laboratory service requests will also begin on his October 12th, physician registration on his November 3rd, and patient registration on his December 14th. , the results of applicants who reach a score of 80% or higher will be made public.
Competition is fierce, with the St. Thomas district allowing eight Level 1 cultivation licenses, St. John allowing four, and St. Croix allowing one. However, this is subject to change, as Executive Director Hannah Carty shared in March that “the exact number of licenses released on an annual basis will be determined by the Cannabis Advisory Board.” They must not release a license that supersedes the amount permitted by the 19 VI Code. Chapter 34” karty said.
VICAB had intended to adopt a lottery system among eligible license applicants, but Richard Evangelista and others, Commissioner of VI’s Office of Licensing and Consumer Affairs, opposed the idea. “The lottery system seems like a double effort. I don’t think it should be a lottery. As long as there is a valid and fair score sheet, I think it should be merit based,” said Evangel. Lista said. “I think it should be merit-based, not merit-and-lottery.” The rules were modified to only use the lottery in case of a tie.
VICAB operates on a one-time $500,000 loan from the Office of Management and Budget. After two years, the department must be fully covered by the collected fees.
According to Agriculture Commissioner Positive Nelson, timelines require swift action. “The longer the program takes to start, the longer it takes to generate revenue to sustain itself, so that’s part of the problem, and if we don’t get it, we need to ask Congress for more time. It might be to start right away,” Nelson said.
In response, Chairman Dr. Catherine Keane shared a message to provide viewers with insight as to why the show has taken so long to put together. “I would like the public to realize that we did not expect the rollout to take this long,” she said. Keane said“Every obstacle we encountered along the way, whether it was an actual obstacle or a perceived obstacle, has made the last three years very difficult. I think the $10,000 is shaving off to some extent, we’re really trying to move forward, and once we have the rules and regulations in place, we’re going to use this strategic plan to actually get some money back once we get the licenses. I think we can get through the trials so that we can start.”
Virgin Islands voters approved medical cannabis in 2014. Lawmakers passed the Medical Cannabis Patient Care Act in 2018. VICAB held its first conference in January 2020 and now, two years later, the U.S. Virgin Islands is one step closer to implementing its program.
According to St. Thomas Source, the program’s rules were to be enacted within 120 days of a law signed by Governor Bryan, but the search for a new executive director has delayed it.Ultimately, Hannah Carty was appointed to the position September 2021.
“Essentially, this person is going to be a play on words, the breeder of the cannabis advisory board,” Evangelista said. September“They are now in charge of running the Cannabis Control Agency. They will be the liaisons to the actual office responsible for this. We are tasked with ensuring that the rules and regulations are published and that public comment is permitted, so it has been integral to the process of getting directors on board.”