BVI News

Governor explains lack of assent Cannabis Licensing Act

Governor Augustus Jaspert

Governor Augustus Jaspert has given an update on the Cannabis Licensing Bill, explaining why he hasn’t granted assent to the legislation, which elected leaders hoping for months now.

In a December 10 statement, Governor Jaspert said: “I am pleased to be at a point where we can move forward with these bills and I hope to see them become law in due course.”

But his statement doesn’t say he will give assent. Rather, it explains why the bills haven’t been assented to and what needs to be done for approval to be granted.

For the Cannabis Licensing Bill, Governor Jaspert said the BVI must work with UK officials to establish into law, a Cannabis Authority that will monitor the local industry.

Governor Jaspert said this is something that the BVI government has to do with the UK Foreign Office, adding that this is now out of his control.

“I have asked officials in the BVI and UK governments to complete this work together. As these practical steps will be between the BVI government and the UK government (not the Governor’s Office), I have passed this to the Foreign Secretary. Public officials in the UK stand ready to engage on this and once these steps have taken place, I hope assent can be granted,” Governor Jaspert explained

He further explained that right now, the UK Home Office acts as the licensing authority for narcotics in BVI, including medical narcotics. The Cannabis Licensing Act would change that, meaning the BVI would take over this responsibility from the Home Office.

“For this to happen, BVI and the Home Office need to work together to take preliminary steps to transfer the authority and enter into a Memorandum of Understanding, which is a binding agreement between the two Governments,” Governor Jaspert explained.

In his statement to the public, Governor Jaspert apologised for the length of time it took to give assent to these bills. He also gave an explanation, saying the bills have to received, “extensive line-by-line scrutiny in the UK”.

“International regulations on this matter are extremely complex and the bills have required a great deal of scrutiny and cross-examination with international laws. As BVI is an Overseas Territory of the UK, BVI is bound by the UK’s international obligations (such as those set by the United Nations) when it comes to the regulation of drugs. The UK has ultimate responsibility for ensuring BVI complies with those obligations and the UK is held liable if there is a breach in compliance,” the Governor explained.

He continued: “This process has been further complicated by the fact that cannabis has been a ‘live issue’ in the United Nations and with the World Health Organisation over recent months. It was most recently debated on the 2 December, where the UN voted to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV of the 1961 Convention. The drug now sits within Schedule I alongside drugs such as cocaine and opium – recognition of the fact that it can have therapeutic benefits if used in a safe and controlled way, but nonetheless, remains a dangerous drug that has the potential to threaten public health. It has been important to follow these debates very closely in order to consider the possible implications for this bill.”

READ: Governor’s Full Statement

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  1. Fair Enough says:

    We are in no rush…

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  2. SMH says:

    Only an idiot would think that you can just pass a law willy nilly making something that is illegal in so many places, including the UK, legal in the BVI. Nothing against the weed but common sense should be common. There’s no way something like legalizing weed and gambling can be done in the simplistic manner in which the Government seemed to be thinking. These things require proper oversight and management in place before they can become laws. Look at our Labour Code for example that is now what, 10 years old? Only about 40% of it is enforced because nothing was put in place to deal with the other 60% contained. It seems we are always proud of mediocrity in this little place.

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  3. Resident says:

    What a lucid explanation; it sounds like there is a long way to go. I also wonder how feasible it will be to get banking services to handle the proceeds. I believe that is still a major issue at the Federal level in the US; and that may impact us as we use the USD. You would have thought these issues would have been considered in the Legislative Assembly. Oh well, no harm done because we have the UK as a long stop, with a highly competent Governor.

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  4. Reply says:

    Something is amidst here.

    Didn’t the Fahie government know that this law in particular could not be assented into law by the governor on his own? If they didn’t know, why didn’t they and expected the governor to act on his own?


    Is the governor, who probably could have worked with the UK foreign office to get the necessary approvals decided to remove himself from the process completely given the recent public spat between the Premiers Office and his and let the Fahie administration fend for itself on that law.

    In other words, he decided to do no favors for the Fahie administration on this issue as he leaves?

    I have feeling that the bad relationship between the Premiers office and government house has led up to this.

    The ball is in your court Mr. Premier. Some may argue you laid the ground work for this. If you want this proposed law to become law, it looks like you are going to have to make it happen on your own with the UK Foreign Office which I am sure is all aware of this and will be expecting your call.

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  5. Please don’t get mad says:


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  6. Dear Mr. Foy says:

    If you guys had sat down with the Governor and put your plans on the table instead of causing unnecessary fights with the Governor things might have swing your way. THIS IS ONLY ME SPEAKING ON MY BEHALF ONLY. YOU CANOT CONTINUE TO INSULT, TALK BAD ABOUT ME,CALL ME A RACIST AND EXPECT ME TO DO YOUR BIDDING. HAVE A NICE DAY.

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  7. Rubber Duck says:

    Do not assume the UK will assent to the bill. Cannabis remains illegal in the UK and they will be wary of setting a precedent. Even if they do assent it will take some time.

    Like 10
  8. strupes says:

    a bigger bike limit cant happen but weed can

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  9. Common sense says:

    Someone made a very valid comment, what is being proposed is illegal no the UK and currently we are a British territory.

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  10. Snorlax says:

    Have patience and stop following every controversy. The U.K voted in favor of medicinal acceptance of cannabis at the UN along with the US, India and other nations.

    The gambling bill was assented. The way forward for the cannabis bill has been presented. Relax. Zzz

  11. Head palm says:

    Gambling and drugs to replace money laundering.

    Do BVIers ever look at themselves and wonder what they can do that is actually productive and benefits others than just themselves?

    Like 5
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