This past week, the Senate decided to override a line-item veto from Governor John de Jongh of the decriminalization provision for the US Virgin Islands, which had been included in the territory’s 2015 fiscal year budget. Due to this veto, the Islands will no longer prosecute those found to be in possession of one ounce or less of cannabis.
While those holding cannabis will no longer face jail time, they will still have to pay a fine of between $100 and $200 as it will still be considered a civil offense. Those under 18 caught with cannabis will have to face the fine as well as enroll in a drug awareness program. Previously, minor marijuana possession could land you in jail for up to a year, and offenses were punishable with fines up to $5,000.
While this decriminalization of cannabis is positive, along with the reduction of fines, the remaining law ignorantly punishes those who might need to use cannabis for medical purposes.
By and large, Federal laws pertaining to marijuana also pertain to the Virgin Islands, but the main focus of the prohibition is cocaine because it is the drug of choice in this part of the Caribbean. FURA, DEA, Blue Lightning Strike Force, USCS, and the ATF are just a few agencies actively cracking down on both marijuana and cocaine use in the U.S. Virgin Islands, using tax dollars and police force energy.
The two substances have no business being thought of in the same breathe because cocaine cannot cure cancer, or alleviate pain for Multiple Sclerosis patients.
The new bill’s sponsor, Sen. Terrance Nelson, who led the Senators vote 14-0 to override the governor’s veto, says that:
“The new law will go a long way in easing cost on the judicial system and judicial process.”