BVI News

Lawful marijuana $$ can fund recovery projects — Wheatley

Dr Natalio ‘Sowande’ Wheatley

Political aspirant Dr Natalio ‘Sowande Uhuru’ Wheatley believes revenue generated via taxes from decriminalised marijuana could be used to finance some much needed infrastructural projects such as road and school repairs.

Speaking at the first ever marijuana festival on the island of Jost Van Dyke recently, Dr Wheatley said there are several areas in need of attention but government “just doesn’t have the money”.

“This is even before [the hurricanes] — now we are in severe crisis. So, marijuana can help with all of those things,” Dr Wheatley said.

He said though marijuana is illegal in the BVI, it is part of the ‘iconography of local tourism’ so legalising the drug would propel the tourism sector further.

And with the ongoing controversy between the territory and the United Kingdom in relation to public registers of company beneficial ownership, Dr Wheatley said the time to seriously consider other options such as marijuana is now.

Dr Wheatley further said he hopes the marijuana fest will continue and will become part of the BVI’s unique tourism brand.

In the last few years and even months, a number of local legislators have expressed pro-marijuana sentiments. These legislators include minister responsible for agriculture Dr Kedrick Pickering and Education Minister Myron Walwyn.

Their sentiments have seemingly filtered down to Premier Dr D Orlando Smith who last month said his administration is considering to relax the territory’s marijuana laws.

“We’ll look at the possible benefits that may come out of medical marijuana. And when I say medical, I mean the medical use of marijuana and producing it for that particular purpose,” Dr Smith said.

The Premier said his administration is exploring other possible avenues but are also mindful of the potential fallouts of relaxing local marijuana laws.

Caribbean nations such as Jamaica have decriminalised the weed, and under that country’s laws, persons found with two ounces or less of the marijuana will be ticketed instead of being criminally charged.

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  1. Think about it says:

    Well, we got about 30,000 people in the territory. Say 10% smoke weed. That’s 3,000. Assume they smoke 1 oz per month (a lot IMHO) and that the price is $ 300 per oz. Tax it at 25%, then the monthly revenue is $75 per oz (meaning consumers would be paying $375 per oz, which might in fact tempt them to save by buying on black market but that’s another issue). So you have amonthly revenue of $ 3000x$75 or $225,000 which works out to about $ 2.7 million a year. Sounds good except that it works out to be about 0.1% of the govt’s estimate of $ 3 billion for post hurricane rebuild. Even before the hurricanes, potential revenues would be tiny compared to the Territories GDP. Not exactly a bonanza though better than nothing but you’d also have some 3,000 folks probably less productive than normal. Better reasons for decriminialization surely are to stop wasting $ on prosecuting and sentencing small quantity users (costs $ 2,000 mo plus of taxpayer money for jail alone) and a more attractive environment for visitors who like to toke,

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    • Nonsense says:

      This is all assuming that people go the legal route. Why would anyone pay 25% tax on weed that they’re smoking now by just buying it?

    • puffa fish says:

      That misses the main revenue source, tourism. If gov wants to be conservative, they can nationalize the production in control of customs, which already has protocol and security measures, limit sales to tourist with foreign passports at custom entry points, and at 15% of 200,000 overnight visitors, you have $3m a year at $100 cost 30k visitors. Send funds to acct for schools, infrastructure, and substance abuse prevention. can exist alongside private sector for local sales. The number excludes cruise ship folk, which is another large pool, but likely smaller purchases as can not bring on ship . . .

  2. Foolish says:

    These guys need to stop the bullsh-t! I agree that the time has come for us to stop criminalizing a plant especially for personal use, but this whole notion that weed will bring millions to the BVI is just f—ing stupid. The places we are looking at have millions of people living there and millions more traveling there to engage in the purchase of the plant. All of those who are making up this nonsense need to show us a proper chart/graph and explain where all these millions will come from because we can sell weed in the BVI. We don’t have enough land to farm food but we can farm weed? Where is all this marijuana going to be farmed? We do realize that the price now is because it’s illegal and it would get cheaper once it’s legal? We do realize that the laws and other measures that need to be put in place to deal with this will cost a lot of money?

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    • Rubber Duck says:

      I don’t see those old people on the cruise ships hobbling ashore looking for a stogie. The market is limited but every little helps and when you make illegal something that next to everyone does and that has no discernible victim , then you are just foolish.

    • Theo says:

      territory is too small for many things. All the past industries like offshore banking and tourism from the 80s and 90s led us to believe we have a different economy than the one we actually do.

  3. vip heckler says:


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  4. any bets? says:

    Diego is going to whip him

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  5. Absolutely says:

    right Doc! Question is, if the law and country do mature into legalization, who will guarantee that the funds will be used appropriately, when a genuine clear intention was stated earlier which read:?

    “I’m in for me because all who came before me did the same.”

    Though that may be true, how can the populace now trust that the right economic distribution management will be followed if elected?

  6. Employer says:

    Well im not hiring nobody who smoke weed, especially if decriminalised. Im willing to pay top dollar for all of my machinery,transportation and hospitality services in the bvi but best believe im testing anybody i employ. Worst case scenario, you got a taxi man lifted on some girl scouts wid a bus load of tourists and cant function going down a hill. I knoe plenty of employerd who will take the same road and start testing employees in high risk positions. Look at all the weed in america they decriminalize but no REAL high paying job want to higher users.

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    • Uncle Buck says:

      Looks like you need to go back to school. I can’t imagine, with your grammar, anyone you employ would struggle if they smoked cannabis.

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      • Jack says:

        I agree with employer, and if you struggle to grasp what he is saying then you represent the smoking class he is speaking of. You probably not in the position to employ either. People dont smoke weed because they want to ne healthy, they just want to get high. Thc is not medicinal, it is the cbd and im 100% sure if we go the strains without thc and only cbd then nobody will want it. As a matter of fact, the higher the thc the lower the cbd. People just too damn lazy to excercise and eat right so they smoke thinkin it helps when its not even as effective as consuming from tea or eating. Majority just want to smoke.

  7. Theo says:

    Decriminalise it because it is a plant, and decriminalise it because alcohol shouldn’t be legal if marijuana is illegal.

    There is tons of money the BVI can make if they start being honest about the business that is actually going on.

    Prostitution and exotic dancers are a norm, tax and regulate the damned thing so the dancers are on proper work permits and the clubs are under proper review. Govt needs to start acting like a bloody govt, you take fees for nothing of substance. Offer a proper service and charge for it. Otherwise you’re just forcing people to pay for nothing.

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