Beautiful Virgin Islands

Thursday, Aug 18, 2022

Medicinal cannabis has potential, but focus is on tourism– Premier Wheatley

Medicinal cannabis has potential, but focus is on tourism– Premier Wheatley

Virgin Islands (VI) Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley says the proposed medicinal cannabis industry in the VI still has potential; however, he indicated that the focus will be on tourism and diversifying existing industries under his watch.

“I think there's potential there [Medicinal cannabis] once we get through our negotiations with the United Kingdom but just to say, we have been speaking about placing much more of a focus on our tourism sector,” he said.

Hon Wheatley was at the time speaking to the media during a one-on-one press conference on Friday, May 27, 2022, on unassented legislation, which includes the VI Cannabis Licensing Act, 2020, which was passed on June 30, 2020, and sent to the Governor's Office on July 27, 2020.

Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley was at the time speaking to the media during a one-on-one press conference on Friday, May 27, 2022, on unassisted legislation, which includes the VI Cannabis Licensing Act, 2020, which was passed on June 30, 2020, and sent to the Governor's Office on July 27, 2020.


More economic diversification


That bill, along with new gaming legislation were individual parts of a greater push towards economic diversification and generation of more non-traditional revenue in the VI, under former Premier, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1).

Hon Wheatley added that while the territory has been facing and overcoming challenges in many different sectors through robust and resilient responses, he said the need for economic diversification still exists.

“There is the need to diversify our tourism product and there's a need to diversify our economy and let's take a look at agriculture and fisheries, for instance.”

Hon Wheatley continued, “We import quite a lot of our food, and of course, if we develop our agriculture and fishing industries and we provide more of what we eat and that will create employment, it will create business opportunities, it'll create government revenue,” he added.

Expanding tourism capacity


Meanwhile, Premier Wheatley said there is a need to expand capacity as it relates to accommodations in the VI for event-based tourism.

“We would also see if we can attract investment so that we can build some properties that can help us when we have things like event tourism, when we want to do sports, tourism, having a property where persons can actually come and stay,” he added.

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