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The Caribbean just got danker.
Last Friday, the U.S. States Virgin Islands Senate unanimously (and quietly) voted to decriminalize cannabis in the Virgin Islands of St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix.
In October, the fate of Bill No. 30-0018 appeared doomed, as Governor de Jongh vetoed this same bill. But the U.S. Virgin Islands Senate has veto power, and they utilized that power to overturn de Jongh’s ruling, enact the bill, and decriminalize marijuana possession on the islands.
The bill was authored and led by the aptly named Terrence “Positive” Nelson, who stated that “the [decriminalization]trend is evident.” 14 out of the 15 Senators voted “Yes” while one absent Senator did not cast a vote.
This bill significantly reduces the penalty for possession, however, the production and sale of cannabis on the island will remain illegal. Now, those in possession of under an ounce of cannabis won’t go to jail or see marijuana placed on their criminal records. Instead, minor possession results in a mere fine that will range from $100 to $200, and, in the worst case scenario, having their buds confiscated.
The reasoning behind the bill is a simple and now common one. In the words of “Positive” Nelson, “It will go a long way in easing cost on the judicial system and judicial process.”
The marijuana movement in the United States tends to focus solely on domestic issues and often overlooks international movements. But the world has awakened, and in our figurative beach back yard of the Virgin Islands, America’s recent progress (see: Colorado) has caused a clear domino effect.
With Jamaica poised to decriminalize (potentially legalize marijuana) and Bermuda recently legalizing CBD (cannabidiol), these new laws are giving tourist another reason to visit these sunny island oases.