Senator Janelle K. Sarauw stated that the Senate may not consider Governor Bryan’s USVI Recreational Cannabis Amendment on December 18th.
Sen. Sarauw has submitted 2 bills with similar subject matter. The submitted bills are cannabis criminal expungement, and recreational cannabis. Pre-emption rules in the USVI Senate will not allow the Governor’s recreational bill to be heard before the Senator’s bills.
Commenting on a Facebook post, Senator Sarauw said:
My office owns both legislations. We didn’t move forward with full legalization because we are waiting to see how we handle medicinal. To date, government house has not sent all nominees down to fill the cannabis board. What he sent down, we have disposed of. Medicinal marijuana has been at a standstill for the entire year. The expungement of cannabis related offenses was submitted to our legal counsel months ago to check for legal sufficiency. So based on our pre-[emption] rules, the governors bill wont be heard over a senators bill.
Senator Sarauw is the chairperson for the Rule & Judiciary Committee, which has been overseeing the nominations to the Cannabis Advisory Board.
On December 3rd, Governor Albert Bryan Jr. announced the The Virgin Islands Cannabis Use Act. The surprise announcement came after a long year of delays to the VI medical cannabis bill.
Regardless of whether the Cannabis Use Act is considered, the VI Cannabis Advisory Board still needs 3 members to start writing the rules and regulations. The nine member board is needed for the current law, and the Governor’s amendment.