LegalHemp in the Virgin Islands

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coming soon… ‘YOUR BRAND HERE’

Hemp flowers have an extremely eventful history. Introduced to distant areas by British and French colonists, hemp has remained a faithful friend to humans when it comes to its industrial uses.

But most governments of the world have had a tough time trying to sort out the hemp and cannabis business. The US is no different in this regard. However, in recent years, hemp awareness has spread like wildfire in many parts of the world, leading to protests and demonstrations to recognize hemp’s therapeutic potential.

This has led many governments around the world to revise their hemp laws. So, has the government of the Virgin Islands done the same? Let’s find out.

A Brief History of Virgin Island’s Hemp Laws

Since the Virgin Islands are a US territory, the federal laws of the US apply to it. So, before the 2018 Farm Bill of the US, cannabis and hemp flowers were more or less illegal in the area. But why? One important factor was the confusion between hemp and marijuana.

So, what’s the difference between hemp and marijuana then?

Physically, none. Both are derived from the cannabis plant, and if you were to place them side by side, you wouldn’t be able to tell them apart just by their look and smell. Indeed, this similarity between the two has been abused by many farmers and drug dealers.

One reason why hemp laws have been so stringent throughout the world is that farmers and drug peddlers would pretend to grow and sell hemp flowers, but in reality, they would deal in marijuana. This provoked authorities to seal all cannabis farms, hemp or not.

The real difference between the two is in their THC content. THC is a psychoactive substance that makes people high on marijuana. It’s also the substance responsible for getting people addicted to marijuana.

While marijuana has considerably high amounts of THC, it’s scarcely found in hemp flowers, allowing us to tap its industrial and therapeutic potential without risking addiction and misuse.

Is hemp legal in the Virgin Islands?

In 2016, the Virgin Islands passed a law that stated that any change in the federal government’s hemp policy would be adopted by the territory.

This meant that following the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp cultivation became legal in the Virgin Islands.

The 2018 Farm Bill distinguished hemp from marijuana based on the plant’s THC content. Cannabis with a THC content greater than 0.3% would be considered marijuana (which is still illegal), while that with a THC content under 0.3% would be considered hemp (which was now legal).

Following the 2018 Farm Bill, Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. signed Act 8167. This act recognized the therapeutic potential of hemp flowers and their history of treating a wide range of illnesses, making them legal. CBD sourced from hemp flowers was also legalized following the act.

Is it legal to buy hemp in the Virgin Islands?

Yes, but only for medical purposes.

Is it legal to grow and sell hemp in the Virgin Islands?

If you’re planning to cultivate hemp flowers, you must register with the Office of Cannabis Regulation.

You’ll have to pay a licensing fee according to the following rules:

  • Level I – Not to exceed 100 plants: $1,000; $500 for existing farmers
  • Level II – Not to exceed 500 plants: $2,500.00; $2,000.00 for existing farmers
  • Level III – Not to exceed 1,000 plants: $5,000.00; $4,500.00 for existing farmers

You should also note that it’s a crime to sell hemp, or CBD derived from hemp, to anyone besides a medical cardholder. You could land in jail for 2 years, or be fined up to $3000 if you do so.

Is it legal to carry hemp in the Virgin Islands?

If you are a medical cardholder, you can carry up to 113 grams of CBD derived from cannabis. For non-residents, this limit shrinks down to 85 grams.

You should also note that you are only allowed to possess hemp for medical conditions that are recognized as treatable with cannabis by the territory’s law.