How to Start a Legal Marijuana Grow Operation in the Virgin Islands
Disclaimer: This is a Guide, if you are serious about starting a Medical Cannabis Business in the Virgin Islands, consult an attorney.
Ready to get your hands dirty and start growing that sweet green gold in the US Virgins Islands? Been perfecting that magic soil formula that’s going to grow you the fattest buds?
Bush weed is just not going to cut it anymore. This is the big leagues, only the finest; cleanest product will be hitting dispensary shelves. If your product fails quality testing, it’s going in the trash. No dispensary is going to let product that won’t sell sit in their inventory.
Before you get growing you are going to need to know how to get through the application process.
The cannabis industry in the Virgin Islands is a “horizontal market”. Flowers, plants, and raw materials will be all you can sell as a grower. To produce concentrates, edibles or any other THC products, you would need a Manufacturers License. No business may hold more than one license. You will only be able to sell to dispensaries and manufacturers. Direct sales to medical patients is illegal.
The Medical Cannabis Patient Care Act (MCPCA) lays our residency rules for anyone starting a legal marijuana business in the VI. You must be a resident for 24 months prior to applying for a growers license.
You must also be 21 years of age with no criminal background to own any Medical Marijuana business in the territory.
Residency not an issue? Great! Now let’s talk about applying for a license.
To successfully apply for your growers license you will need:
- Legal Name of the Growing Operation
- Physical address of the prospective farm, greenhouse or indoor facility.
- Names, birth dates, proof of residency for all owners and investors of the business.
- Business Plan, including plans for security, seed-to-sale record keeping and product diversion mitigation
- Application fee
The OCR will most likely require even more information.
Licensing & Fees
Medical Weed in the Virgin Islands will be handled by the Office of Cannabis Regulations (OCR). The MCPCA has already laid out the starting guidelines and fees for medical marijuana growers.
Just like the residency requirement which help promote locals in business, special discounts were given to farmers. Local established farms will receive a $500 discount on all growers licenses. For a Level I license, that’s a 50% discount!
Grow Op licenses in the USVI are broken up into three levels. Each settings the maximum amount of plants on hand for a grow operation.
- 100 Plants – $1000 – Level I
- 500 Plants – $3000 – Level II
- 1000 Plants – $5000 – Level III
For established local farmers:
- 100 Plants – $500 – Level I
- 500 Plants – $2500 – Level II
- 1000 Plants – $4500 – Level III
The MCPCA sets some rules for outdoor and indoor growing operations within the USVI.
Outdoor farms (in-ground) need to be properly zoned for agricultural use. This pretty much rules out St. Thomas and St. John for outdoor growing in ground soil. This is because open farming space is not widely available on these islands as it is on St. Croix.
Outdoor potted or greenhouse growing will be allowed without agricultural zoning, unless OCR & DPNR state otherwise.
A 10-foot fence or greater must surround the outdoor grow operation. The fence must also obstructs the view of the growing area from the surrounding area.
DPNR and the OCR will set the zoning for indoor grow operations. What zoning classification they will need is unknown at this time.
Indoor marijuana growing facilities must take “reasonable measures” to secure there facility. Your license application must include your security plans. Such as, camera setup, security system details, and your facilities access privileges.
Starting a Marijuana farm in the US Virgin Islands is not going to be easy. Starting any business is not easy. The weed game is a cut-throat industry. You must be constantly aware of your competitors and know what the market needs.
Starting weed prices may exceed black market prices to start, but as more growers start producing, prices will begin to plummet. And just when you think they’ve hit bottom, it will go further. Therefore, know your limits, know what’s sustainable and you will succeed. Wholesale pounds under $600 are just a blink away.