US Virgin Islands on cusp of legalizing adult-use marijuana

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The U.S. Virgin Islands is on the verge of legalizing adult-use marijuana.

Shortly before the new year, a veto-proof majority of lawmakers in the U.S. territory voted to send The Virgin Islands Cannabis Act to the desk of Gov. Albert Bryan.

The governor is expected to sign the bill into law, according to the Virgin Islands Consortium.

The bill:

  • Legalizes cannabis for adults 21 and older.
  • Creates a “regulated system for the cultivation, manufacture, and sale of cannabis for adult, medical, and sacramental use.”
  • Allows members of religious organizations to grow up to six mature plants.

Companion legislation also expunges certain marijuana-related convictions, Sen. Janelle Sarauw, the bill’s sponsor, said in a news release.

Lawmakers “did … due diligence in protecting the masses and the best interests of our residents by ensuring that locals and minorities are not locked out of the industry and have an opportunity to participate in its economic potential,” Sarauw stated, adding that the bill will create an industry “that is inclusive and diverse, but most importantly, safe.”

Roughly 106,000 people live in the U.S. Virgin Islands, located off the coast of Puerto Rico, where medical cannabis is legal and possession of up to 1 ounce is decriminalized.