Is marijuana legal in US Virgin Islands?
Current legality status
Cannabis is legal for qualified patients with a licensed card.
Medical marijuana is legal in the US Virgin Islands for both Virgin Islanders and visitors who are eligible for a temporary card. Resident patients may possess up to four ounces of marijuana for medical use and grow 12 plants. Visiting patients may possess up to three ounces of marijuana.
Possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by a non-medical consumer has been decriminalized, with offenders subject to fines of up to $100.
Possession of more than one ounce for non-medical use may result in up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $5,000, and up to two years in prison and fines of up to $10,000 for subsequent offenses.
Interestingly, possession of paraphernalia has not been decriminalized and offenders may face up to a year in jail and fines of up to $5,000.
Penalties for distribution and cultivation are quite stiff. First-time offenders caught with under 50 pounds may get up to five years in jail and be subject to fines up to $15,000. Subsequent sale or cultivation of under 50 pounds may result in a jail term of up to 10 years and fines up to $30,000.
Penalties for distribution or cultivation of more than 50 pounds are assessed according to the amount, with over a thousand pounds resulting in a mandatory jail term of 15 years and fines up to $200,000.
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US Virgin Islands medical marijuana laws
Medical marijuana was legalized in January 2019 when Governor Albert Bryan Jr. signed Bill 32-0135, the Medical Cannabis Patient Care Act. The legislation was created following a 2014 referendum in which 56.5% of residents voted in favor of developing a medical marijuana program.
It allows medical patients to possess up to four ounces of marijuana and cultivate up to 12 plants in various stages of growth. Visiting medical patients can apply for a card and possess up to three ounces of marijuana.
In 2014, possession of up to one ounce of marijuana was decriminalized when the Senate overrode a veto of Bill 30-0018 by then-governor John de Jongh. Offenders were instead issued a fine of $100 for possession and up to $200 for possession and public consumption.
In 2019, a bill to legalize recreational cannabis was introduced, but it has been plagued by financial miscalculations and disagreements over a proposed system of permitting for adult recreational consumers.
US Virgin Islands qualifying conditions for medical marijuana
Qualifying conditions are physician-diagnosed ailments that can be treated by medical cannabis. These include:
- Positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
- Hepatitis C
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Traumatic brain injury
- Hospice care
- Parkinson’s disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Chronic pain
- Neuropathic pain
- Opiate use disorder
Chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following:
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Severe, debilitating pain
- Severe nausea; seizures; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including the characteristics of multiple sclerosis
The legislation allows the Office of Cannabis Regulation to add new conditions. Residents can petition for the addition of specific conditions. See the Medical Cannabis Patient Care Act for further details.
How to get a medical marijuana card in the US Virgin Islands
Resident patients, which includes people who have lived in the US Virgin Islands for 45 days or longer, may apply for a registry identification card through the Office of Cannabis Regulation.
They must be diagnosed with a debilitating condition by a licensed practitioner. Practitioners may be physicians, osteopaths, chiropractors, or nurse practitioners. The application fee is $50.
Non-residents may obtain a temporary card using a valid medical marijuana card from their state, territory, or country of residence. They may also obtain a physician recommendation in the Virgin Islands. A five-day card costs $50, a ten-day card costs $75, and a 30-day card costs $100.
The Office of Cannabis Regulation does not yet have a website.
Does the US Virgin Islands accept out-of-state medical cards?
Yes, visitors to the US Virgin Islands may use cards issued in other jurisdictions to obtain a temporary card. Visitors may also obtain a physician recommendation and apply for a temporary card.
When does my US Virgin Islands medical marijuana card expire?
Resident cards expire one year after the date of issue. After 45 days of residence, medical marijuana patients may apply for a resident card good for one year.
Temporary cards issued to visitors are good for five, ten, and 30 days.
US Virgin Islands marijuana growing laws
Resident cardholders may cultivate up to 12 plants in a secure location if their card specifically designates cultivation privileges. Cardholders may sell excess marijuana to dispensaries and processing facilities.
Non-resident cardholders are not allowed to cultivate plants.
US Virgin Islands public consumption laws
Medical marijuana legislation in the US Virgin Islands expressly prohibits public consumption. Public consumption may result in fines of up to $200.
US Virgin Islands cannabis DUI laws
Even in medical-use and adult-use states, it is illegal to drive while under the influence. Even though the US Virgin Islands is a medically legal territory, it is illegal to drive while under the influence of cannabis.
Per US Virgin Islands code: “The court may order a pre-sentence screening of the person based upon the person’s blood alcohol level at the time of his arrest, his prior alcohol-related convictions, a self-administered questionnaire, and a diagnostic assessment by health officials.”
- First offense: Misdemeanor; up to one year in jail; mandatory $300 fine for offenders not involved in an accident and mandatory fine of $500 if the offender is involved in an accident; potential six month driver’s license suspension.
- Subsequent offense (within 10 years): Felony; mandatory imprisonment for 48 hours and maximum imprisonment of two years; fines of up to $2,000, minimum fine of $600 for those involved in an accident; potential for ten days of community service in lieu of a prison term; mandatory driver’s license suspension of one year and potential for a five-year suspension (if the conviction is within five years of a previous conviction).
For more information, refer to the US Virgin Islands code Title 20, Chapter 43.
US Virgin Islands cannabis testing regulations
Medical marijuana legislation in the US Virgin Islands is not yet clear on contaminants that must be tested for. The current legislation specifies that medical marijuana must be tested for “potency, pesticides, mold, or contaminants.” Two testing labs must be established, one for each of the major districts.
Common questions about marijuana legalization in US Virgin Islands
Can medical patients grow in the US Virgin Islands?
Yes, medical patients may grow up to 12 plants in varying stages of development as long as they are properly secured. Patients who share a home may use the same space to cultivate their plants.
Is the US Virgin Islands a medical territory?
Yes, medical cannabis use is permitted in the US Virgin Islands. Both residents and non-residents may consume marijuana for medical purposes provided they possess a valid medical marijuana card.
Can you get a medical card with a felony in the US Virgin Islands?
Nothing in the current medical cannabis legislation prevents a felon from obtaining a medical card. However, violent felons and felons convicted of drug offenses may not serve as caregivers or be employed by cannabis facilities.
Can you get a medical card for anxiety in the US Virgin Islands?
Anxiety is not among the qualifying conditions listed in the current legislation. However, residents may petition the Office of Cannabis Regulation to add new qualifying conditions.
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Post last updated Sept. 8, 2020