The U.S. Virgin Islands may have failed to legalize medical marijuana in the past, but one tenacious lawmaker believes he has the power to change naysayers’ minds in 2017.
Senator Positive Nelson, the political force behind the island nation’s 2014 marijuana decriminalization measure, recently told the Virgin Islands Consortium that he plans to reintroduce legislation to the Senate in hopes of finally getting a medical marijuana program on the books.
The lawmaker says that with all of the latest research that has emerged regarding the therapeutic benefits of the cannabis plant, he feels confident that his bill will be well received.
“With the passage of time and the release of more information, more proven research, it will make sense that this Legislature will be more prepared to pass it,” Nelson said.
There is a distinct possibility that the medical marijuana bill will be signed into law, as long as Nelson can persuade his colleagues in the Legislature to sink their teeth into it.
Not only does Governor Kenneth Mapp support this form of legalization, but reports also indicate that he would also be open to establishing a taxed and regulated pot market at some point in the future.
Yet, while Governor Mapp has said he would give Nelson’s bill the same consideration as another measure than crosses his desk, he is apparently concerned about some of the regulatory affairs. He wants to ensure the territory’s medical marijuana program is backed by a solid plan before gracing it with his signature.
Although there is still some concern about a potential federal marijuana crackdown at the hands of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Senator Nelson says he is not at all worried.
“America is not going to go backwards on their policy,” he said. “The Jeff Sessions talk is just that, talk. What they’ve already seen is the billions of dollars that marijuana has made. America is a capitalistic nation, as we know. Republicans are about the money. The only thing Trump is really venting about is anything that was done under the Obama Administration. But the truth of the matter is America is not going to let this president or any future president roll back on [marijuana].”
A recent poll conducted by the Consortium found that the majority of U.S. Virgin Island residents support the legalization of marijuana.