BVI News

Governor should’ve voiced concerns on marijuana bill before it passed

The BVI’s governor should have shared his concerns about the Cannabis Licensing Act before it was allowed to pass in the House of Assembly (HOA).

This was the view shared by Premier Andrew Fahie at a recent appearance before members of the media.

The BVI’s former governor, Augustus Jaspert, declined to offer assent to the Act last year, citing concerns about the absence of a marijuana licensing body. Thereafter, Jaspert sent the bill to the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). This was a feat that the Premier described as unprecedented in the BVI’s political history.

“It’s a lot of work done to get a bill done and to reach to a level and not [have the bill] assented to,” the Premier shared.

According to Fahie, bills usually see many discussions involving various departments. He said they require a Cabinet paper and a Cabinet sitting before being read and debated in the House of Assembly. He said all these processes happen before any legislation ever gets to a governor for final assent.

The Premier said there are also many public consultations involved in helping to shape a piece of legislation before it passes in the House.

“It takes some wind out of you sometimes when you reach to that level after all that and the public consultations – and then have it not assented to for something that was never mentioned to you in all of those processes along the way,” Premier Fahie said.

“Somebody could have said something if it was concerning them,” he added.

Licensing provision was already in the bill

But the Premier said the overriding concern that has stymied the bill thus far – a licensing body – was already taken into account and provisions were made for this in the legislation.

“One of the areas that we were concerned about with that is that one of the bills does have inside of the bill, to create a licensing body,” the Premier said.

He noted that the previous governor was also consulted on the bill before its passage and requests were made of him for any likely amendments.

Furthermore, the Premier claimed that when concerns were raised at the time of its drafting, the Attorney General at the time, Baba Aziz, said that there were no issues of conflict that arose.

The Premier described the issue as a challenge that his administration did not anticipate but said they will work with the UK in whatever areas are needed so the bill can be enacted.

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10 Comments

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  1. Jane says:

    Will the licensing body be stuffed with political cronies like all the other statutory boards?

    The cannabis industry presents opportunities for BVIslanders, but the way this legislation is drafted it feels like only the chosen few will benefit.

    Another issue is the widespread view here and in the UK that BVI is operating as little more than a narco-state and that legitimising cannabis provides great cover for the Mr Big/Mr Well-Connected to increase their market share.

    Let’s free the weed, but let’s make sure every BVIslander gets a chance at a trade license to grow, process, sell the product and not just the people who vote the right way or have the right family name.

    Like 19
    Dislike 1
  2. Dreamer says:

    If the Queen smokes a joint then this law will be assented!

    Like 3
    Dislike 5
  3. JUST ASKING says:

    what happened to AGRICULTURE ? are going to switching to a herb diet ? ? ? (Maybe that’s why the CUBAN (mouth champ) scrapped the green houses project which would of been producing our own natural healthy VEGETABLES ALL NOW SO 🤔

  4. sturpss says:

    whether you for legalizing marijuana or not this bill was garbage…how they wanted to go about it gave the impression that only people hand picked by them would be allowed to make any money from it.

    Like 14
    Dislike 2
    • John Thomas says:

      Who sells marijuana doesn’t matter until we stop ALL punishment of adults. The people of Ohio found that out the hard way. In their 2015 voter initiative on legalizing, they let themselves be fooled into caring who grew and sold it, so they shot themselves in the foot and voted it down. So they have continued to be arrested for marijuana ever since then.

      Further, after the dust settles on ending the fraudulently enacted U.S. federal prohibition, none of the sales arrangements will last long. A national and global market will develop quickly and marijuana will be sold wherever more harmful beer and wine are available.

  5. Chupes says:

    Andrew we read your letters to the former governor on the COI website. You were extremely disrespectful and sarcastic in your correspondences to him. I dont believe nothing you say. You probably didnt even tell him about this bill just like the one where you tried to strip his powers from him under the Disaster Manamement bill. You too out of order.

    Like 13
    Dislike 1
  6. ZE BOSS says:

    Is just trying to cover his tracks / which is being exposed daily by his subordinates

  7. lady boss says:

    I don’t see why he making such a fuss because his grass is already green in the area.

  8. L Ipton says:

    The Governor reserve the right to assent or not. Additionally, when certain directives are issued from the UK, compliance is required by the Governor’s office.

    Regarding this bill, the level of consultation left much to be desired together with the apparent discrimination and ‘selected’ few who were planned beneficiaries.

    A pity the Premier is hurting soooooo much. Just rectify the issues and who knows, it may be assented to in the near future.

  9. John Thomas says:

    Science and widespread experience have shown marijuana has no significant harms. Hence, the only regulation it really needs is to prohibit sales to children and require basic sanitation in processing, as we do for all produce.

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