British Virgin Islands

Monday, Sep 28, 2020

‘I too would like details about medical marijuana’ – Hon Fraser

Senior Opposition Legislator, Honourable Julian Fraser RA (R3) said despite being a member of the House of Assembly (HoA), he too is seeking information on Government’s proposed medicinal marijuana industry.

Honorable Fraser said because of his position; people would approach him seeking information on how they could join the looming industry in the Territory.

“I too would like to know about this medical marijuana, but I can tell you something right now, it is popular. It is impossible to support something that you don’t know about. I need to know more about it, so I can see exactly what it is so I can make an intelligent decision on whether or not I would support it,” he said in response to questions by members of the press at the House of Assembly Conference room on Thursday, January 23, 2020.

“It is something that is catchy right now, and there has been talk about it before this Government came in, and I was surprised of the vigour in which they took it on. But, like everything else, the programmes that the Government has, the background and the details don’t filter down to the Opposition and I am not saying that they are hiding it from us,” he pointed out.

More concerns raised

Similarly, other members of the Opposition also had concerns of their own pertaining to the controversial sector that is taking the world by storm.

“Marijuana is illegal in the BVI, and we are yet to see any legislation or hear any discussion or any draft to talk about the decriminalization of marijuana. There is really a lot of hype with no substance behind the whole plan and the whole issue of medicinal marijuana in general,” Opposition Leader Marlon A. Penn (R8) added.

He stated that another concern was how persons involved in medical marijuana in the Virgin Islands would be able to perform banking transactions.

“The biggest challenge with this industry is the banking of funds. You are asking our banks which they will not do to bank funds. If they do bank these funds for medical marijuana, they have a risk of losing their licenses.”

Penn described the new administration’s plan in that regard as “smoking mirrors” one that is intended to appeal to the younger crowd. “There is no plan, just a lot of smoke and mirrors, a lot of sensationalisation for our young people who want these things, who want to hear of these things and there is no substance on how they are going to benefit from these things,” Penn said.

Gov't reviewing marijuana laws

During the second annual Hemp Fest held on Jost Van Dyke last July, Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture Dr. the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) revealed that the Government was in the process of reviewing a draft bill on the legalisation of marijuana.

It was also revealed in the 2020 deliberations of the Standing Finance Committee by Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) that 100 Virgin Islanders would receive half-acre plots to cultivate and produce medicinal marijuana in Paraquita Bay.


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