Efforts to legalize medical marijuana in the U.S. Virgin Islands may have failed in the past, but that is not stopping one of the areas most tenacious lawmakers from reintroducing legislation in 2017 in hopes of wearing down the system and putting this reform on the books, once and for all.
According to a report from the Virgin Islands Consortium, Senator Positive Nelson, the politician behind the territory’s 2014 marijuana decriminalization law, plans to initiate a discussion in the Senate, once again, regarding the legalization of cannabis for medicinal purposes.
The lawmaker says his goal, this time around, is to emphasize the research that has surfaced pertaining to the therapeutic benefits of the herb since his last dance with legislative forces.
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“With the passage of time and the release of more information, more proven research, it will make sense that this Legislature will be more prepared to pass it,” Nelson said.
If his labors prove successful — winning a stamp of approval from the Legislature — there is a distinct possibility that the medical marijuana measure would be signed into law.
Governor Kenneth Mapp said recently that he would give Nelson’s bill the same consideration as any other proposal that lands on his desk.
Nelson says the governor is not, at all, closed minded when it comes to marijuana legalization.
“He’s actually not limited his consideration to medicinal,” Nelson said, adding that the governor would not be opposed to ending prohibition altogether.
While the entire scope of the cannabis community cannot seem to stop talking about how U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is on the verge of unleashing a vicious crackdown on legal marijuana, Nelson says that is not going to happen, because the Justice Department is now at the mercy of American capitalism.
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“America is not going to go backwards on their policy,” he said. “The Jeff Sessions talk is just that, talk. What they’ve already seen is the billions of dollars that marijuana has made. America is a capitalistic nation, as we know. Republicans are about the money. The only thing Trump is really venting about is anything that was done under the Obama Administration. But the truth of the matter is America is not going to let this president or any future president roll back on [marijuana].”
If the Virgin Islands does legalize medical marijuana this year, it would become part of several other Caribbean communities, including Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, that have passed similar laws.