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Sen. Positive Nelson Wants to Bring Medical Cannabis to the Virgin Islands

July 21, 2017

A senator in the US Virgin Islands is trying to bring medical marijuana to the islands.

Sen. Terrance “Positive” Nelson announced Thursday that he has submitted a medical marijuana legalization bill to the Legislature, according to the Virgin Island Consortium, which reports that the move has broad support in the US territory.

It’s the second time Nelson has submitted a medical marijuana bill. In 2014 he introduced a measure that also had majority support in the islands. However, then-Attorney General Claude Walker warned at the time that passing a law legalizing medical cannabis would put the islands in a precarious position with the federal government. Lawmakers ultimately scrapped the bill after a number of public forums and legislative hearings.

“The new measure has been reviewed by policy advisors, industry leaders and others to ensure that we have a solid and comprehensive product,” Nelson said, according to the Consortium’s report. “We also included the pertinent changes made by various senators that surfaced last year when the measure was heard in the Committee on Health, Hospital and Human Services.”

Nelson said he reintroduced the bill to fulfill his obligation as a policymaker to the people of the Virgin Islands, who originally supported the 2014 legalization push.

The new bill, would allow islanders to possess up to four ounces of cannabis. It would create a system of testing facilities, production facilities, and dispensaries, and patients would be issued registry identification cards.

Homegrow would also be permitted, with a cardholder able to cultivate up to 12 plants, mature or immature.

Medical conditions that would qualify for medical marijuana include the following:

• cancer
• glaucoma
• hepatitis C
• amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
• Crohn’s disease
• ulcerative colitis
• Alzheimer’s disease
• post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
• traumatic brain injury
• hospice care
• Parkinson’s disease
• Huntington’s disease
• arthritis
• diabetes
• chronic pain
• neuropathic pain
• muscle spasms

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Gage Peake

Gage Peake is a former staff writer for Leafly, where he specialized in data journalism, sports, and breaking news coverage. He's a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

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