A resident of the Third Electoral District quizzed residents at a public forum at the Valerie O. Thomas Community Centre in Sea Cows Bay, Tortola, on Thursday, January 30, 2020, on their knowledge of the marijuana industry and was curious to know if the Virgin Islands has the capacity to make the industry a viable one.
The man’s remark comes following the Government’s announcemnt that it would be venturing into the medicinal marijuana industry.
“Going back to marijuana, something that interests me and I know very little about it, and you (Hon Fraser) admitted the same. Does anybody here know anything about growing marijuana? Without convincing yourselves?” he asked.
His question was met with peals of laughter from residents of the community.
“I would like to know how much acreage or plants it takes to make a 100 milli-litres of medical content for medical purposes. Or whether we have such an acreage that is going to make selling it a viable proposition,” he remarked.
Opposition seeking answers too
It was on Thursday, January 23, 2020 during a press conference at the House of Assembly (HoA) Conference room in Road Town, Tortola, when members of the Opposition said they too were seeking answers on the medicinal marijuana industry.
“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,” Senior Opposition legislator Hon Julian Fraser, RA (R3) said.
He said persons within the community would meet him on the topic and question him as he is a member of the House of Assembly.
“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 decriminalisation 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 Honourable Marlon A. Penn (R8) chimed in at the same conference.
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.”
Hon Penn described the new administration’s plan in that regard as “smoke and mirrors” and one that is intended to appeal to the younger crowd.
Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) announced that 100 Virgin Islanders would receive half-acre lots to cultivate and produce medicinal marijuana in Paraquita Bay, while plans are afoot to change the existing laws pertaining to marijuana in the Virgin Islands.