BVI News

Cannabis Licensing Authority among the plans to regulate sector

The British Virgin Islands will see the implementation of a Cannabis Licensing Authority that will serve as the governing body for the soon-to-be-realized sector, Agriculture Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley has announced.

The minister, who was speaking on social media about the Cannabis Licensing Act that is to be introduced in the House of Assembly, said the Authority would have a board comprising persons “who are involved in law, in medicine, in law enforcement, [and] in business.”

“There is the potential if we don’t regulate it properly to have problems, but we want to have a very responsible cannabis industry here in the Virgin Islands that would export and that would provide some types of benefits for persons who want to do medical tourism, for instance,” Dr Wheatley said om Tuesday.

Minster Wheatley said another benefit of the Authority is for the people of the territory to get ‘maximum benefits’.

“How it will really work is we will have someone who is an investor, who is a farmer, who has the international markets. The investor will show them exactly how to grow the marijuana because when you’re exporting marijuana, it is very important that you abide by the international standards and regulations,” the minister said.

The minister continued: “The investor will buy the marijuana from them, process it, which will create jobs again — in terms of the processing and to be able to export it to places around the world. There has been a great deal of demand for marijuana internationally.”

Farmers are interested

In the meantime, the Agriculture Minister said farmers have shown very high interest in being part of this new and emerging industry.

“When the Premier first announced that we will have 100 farmers, I probably got about a thousand letters. So many persons indicated an interest in becoming one of those farmers. We had persons from all over the territory, every district and all the district representatives got letters and inquiries,” he said.

“Persons are very excited about the possibility. I don’t even know how we will choose the farmers because there will be so many applications,” he noted.

The 100 local farmers will each receive a half-acre plot of land from government for the cultivation and production of medicinally-purposed marijuana in Paraquita Bay, Tortola.

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13 Comments

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  1. Doh says:

    Those potential 1000 farmers are the locals already growing it. Deny them legal access and the problem grows. Impact someone’s livelihood, like a gang, and then lookout. Legal growers could see some blowback.

  2. Dude says:

    Ayo leave that alone it’s to early for that … vip like they trying to change the whole bvi in just one year we’ll half of year because corona was the first half … legalize weed and watch the other hard drugs pour in

    Like 2
    Dislike 6
  3. Free for all says:

    Since it look like the school system had gone to the dogs and who knows when you will open the schools…get the school children to grow weed

    Like 2
    Dislike 4
  4. Miss Manda says:

    While I admire the new government for the passion of its members, I must ask this burning question about the gambling legislation and the cannabis legislation.

    Are we hoping to gain the almighty dollar with no regard for the everlasting soul?

    It is one thing to have the fortitude to address issues that former governments spoke about but did not touch with a ten foot pole, but it is another thing to sell out the morals and values our forefathers taught us for a fistful of dollars.

    Like 5
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    • It does not follow says:

      How is anyone selling out morals?
      This is a plant that even countries who ban or previously banned it, cannot deny the science behind the medicinal qualities. The US FDA is a classic example as they federally ban marijuana (maybe so they can arrest more black people – Read up on that) yet allow opioid epidemic to billions in profit by big pharma lobbyist companies.

      We should have done this years ago but did not have the sense and fortitude. If we have to use another currency than the dollar for those sales, so be it. There are even some like KYD pegged to the dollar so no FX risk.

      Give employment, tourism boost, health benefits to our residents. This income and the lack of police distraction actually gives more opportunity to police hard drugs. Takes some initiative away from those dealing illegitimately and the chance to have a legitimate business…

      Like 4
      Dislike 2
  5. Diaspora says:

    Though there is much excitement about the hype of CBD,ie, medical marijuana, being able to treat a myriad of ailments. What and where is the scientific evidence that demonstrate indisputable treatment protocols for ailments? What stage is the research in? Understand the need to be well-positioned to take advantage of this potential revenue stream. However, what information is the VI basing its decision on? What is competitive posture relative to its myriad of potential competitors? Is the VI developing a special strain that will provide it with a competitive advantage? Which markets are it going to export to?

    Moreover, the US is the VI major trading partner. However, though growing and selling marijuana may be legal in 22 states plus D.C. and Puerto Rico, it is not legal at the Federal level. And any proceeds associated with selling marijuana can be considered money laundering. Consequently, banks and other financial institutions avoid dealing with marijuana proceeds. Many of the growers conduct business in cash. How does the government intend to navigate this mine field?

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
    • Anonymous says:

      where to start… Your questions are elementary. The research is there and the amount of people who use it illegally speaks volumes to its therapeutic use which people are smart enough to figure out.

      We all know bush tea in the morning does one good but iv never seen any studies and cannabis is well researched.

      Moreover should we wait until a Bernie Sanders succeeds and federally legalize in 100 days or be posed to be well established in the event of another country’s inevitable legalization.

  6. Read the bible again says:

    Plenty of medicinal plants and remedies in there. Don’t pretend God is in the way

  7. Eagle and Buffalo says:

    Dr. Hon Natalio Wheatley (R7), minister under whom agriculture falls, needs to launch a public education and outreach programme on CBD, ie, medical marijuana or cannabis. There are approximately 500 strains of cannabis with the two most popular being THC, a psychotic and recreational drug that ges people high and CBD, a non-psychotic and non-recreational drug that shows promise for treating a myriad of ailments.

    Hear is a news flash. CBD, ie, medical marijuana, does not get you high. No one is going to be burning a CBD spliff to get high. Well, one can but he/she is not going to get high, for there is little to no THC in CBD strains of cannabis. In the pot universe, CBD is like a placebo.

    Many other regional jurisdictions, eg, Antigua, Jamaica…..etc have decriminalized possession of small quantities of marijuana for personal consumption. The VI needs to consider similar actions, along with quashing the records of those convicted of possession of small quantities of pot for personal consumption.

    The VI usually lags other regional countries in taking progressive actions, eg, it was the last or one of the last locale that lifted the immigration ban on non-local people with dread locks entering the territory. Locks were nothing to be dreaded. Kudos to the NDP for stopping the self hating.

    [Let’s us lead like eagles, not careen off the cliff like buffaloes]

  8. Phoenix says:

    There will be a licensing process that leaves those 100 farmers in the dust.
    Only certain wealthy people/families will receive them and the farmers will have to work for consortiums of the rich….

    Business as usual in 2020 and beyond.

  9. Forward ever Backward never says:

    Who feels it knows it. To all who is screaming legalize the weed (marijuana), grow the weed I have a story to tell. I was married and have 3 children. My husband smoke marijuana for all his life, he introduced it to our children. From smoking innocent marijuana they all end up snorting cocaine and smoking crack. Marijuana was the spring board to try other drugs. My husband has since died and my daughter has children she can’t take care of. One son does be in and out of jail for using and selling. The other son I really don’t know where he is. My people all that glitters is not gold. There might be an upside to this for some, but I believe the downside for the majority is greater. The kingpins will profit and the lil people will suffer. Can’t we invest in growing food, instead of waiting for the boats from St. Vincent ,Dominica and elsewhere to put food on our table? I am almost 60yrs old and I remember when we used to export ground provision, charcoal, corned pork and fish to St. Thomas. These produce used to be taken to St. Thomas by sailboat. Today, we can’t feed ourselves but we want fields of Marijuana. Why not fields of food? That’s my humble opinion.

  10. Tongue Fu says:

    Food security should be the priority. Again Medical Marijuana for exportation depends heavily on external demand and when that demand gets affected due to economic conditions, competition or legal hindrances then what? The same acreage should have been given to farmers to plant food crops and rear livestock for local consumption and the surplus for export. More investment and focus should be on fishing. Some day ago Puerto Ricans caught in our waters with tons of fish so that tells us that we have a great resource there so we need to tap into it. Or is it that there is no money there for the big Boys.

    Not enough discussion on this marijuana issue but i strongly believe we should have bypassed this. Seems like they already have a rich buyer so the deal done already. Food security.

    What we should have focussed on first was to decriminalize recreational use of marijuana but before we do that we need to get more substance support organizations in place or finance and resource the ones we already have. Also we cannot just free persons who were found guilty by laws of the day but we can look at possibly expunging their records so they don’t pay for that conviction for the rest of their lives.

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