Legislators in the U.S. Virgin Islands recently passed a bill to legalize cannabis for recreational use. This move brings the total number of U.S. territories and states that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana to 21.
The possession of an ounce of marijuana was decriminalized in the Caribbean Island territory almost a decade ago in 2014, with the legislature approving a bill to allow the medical use of cannabis years later, in 2019. At the moment, the medical use of marijuana has been legalized in 37 states. However, the drug still remains illegal at the federal level because it’s still classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act.
Under the recently approved measure, visitors to the island territory as well as its residents will be allowed to buy medical cannabis and adult-use marijuana at licensed dispensaries.
Senator Jannelle K. Sarauw sponsored the bill, which was approved in the senate on Dec. 30, 2023, during the last session that Senator Donna A. Frett-Gregory served as senate president. Frett-Gregory voiced her support for the legislation, noting that it would be irresponsible to not advance the legislation as government funds had been spent.
Media reports expect that Gov. Albert Bryan will sign the measure given how vocal he has been in the past, expressed his support for marijuana policy reform. The measure was passed together with another legislation to expunge prior convictions for cannabis-related offenses.
In a press release, Sarauw stated that the measure was a collaborative effort by advocates who have overcome opposition to comprehensive marijuana policy reform. She added that she was proud of the work done by advocates and community stakeholders as well as senators of the 34th legislature, all of whom contributed to the structure of the final bill that was voted on.
Sarauw also noted that due diligence was done to protect the best interests of the residents, which would ensure that everyone had the opportunity to take part in the industry, particularly minorities. In addition, the senator highlighted that the provisions included in the bill would see to it that the industry was diverse and inclusive as well as safe, adding that she hoped the current administration would implement both adult use and medicinal use to their full potential for the benefit of the territory’s residents.
It should be noted that while the measure was approved in a vote of 11 to 1, the legislature hasn’t yet approved regulations to govern the cultivation and sale of cannabis, which is necessary before a regulated marijuana industry can commence operations in a legalized economy.
As the rules around cannabis cultivation become known, equipment makers such as Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX) could find themselves having an uptick in orders from licensed cannabis growers.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/ACTX
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