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Office of Cannabis Regulations Holds Town Hall to Hear Community Concerns

Executive Director for the Office of Cannabis Regulations, Executive Director Hannah Carty. (Zoom meeting screenshot of the Office of Cannabis Regulations Town Hall Meeting)

The V.I. Office of Cannabis Regulations held a virtual town hall on Wednesday to hear community concerns about the Cannabis Advisory Board’s proposed rules and regulations. The rules and regulations were initially published on Aug. 12.

Executive Director Hannah Carty presented a brief overview of the medical cannabis proposed rules and regulations to the town hall attendees.

The comment period for the rules and regulations will close on Sept. 12, giving the rules and regulations a 30-day comment period to the public, and the final rules and regulations are expected to be posted tentatively on Sept. 26.

The cultivator license registration will go live on Oct. 3, and the remaining licenses are to be determined. Application types will include the “Patient Side Registration,” which is for patients, physicians, and caregivers, and the “Business Side Registration,” for the producer/growers, manufacturers, retailers/dispensaries, research, third-party vendors, and laboratory testing.

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Carty said that the exact number of licenses to be released on an annual basis should be determined by the Cannabis Advisory Board; however, they shall not release licenses that supersede the amounts allowed by 19 VIC Chapter 34.

During the open question section, one of the attendees asked, “How does the Office of Cannabis Regulations rationalize a blanket 750 square feet of flowering canopy for all three levels of cultivation levels when the maximum for level one is 100 plants, and the maximum for level three is 1,000 plants,” referencing the proposed rules and regulations.

Carty said, “The 750 square feet of flowering canopy is for one area, you can have multiple areas to grow those plants, and there is a provision that allows for you, if you are in a 1,000-plant range, to be able to submit a request to the Office of Cannabis so that we are aware of where we have these large grows.”

Another attendee asked about the requirements in order to maintain certain operations, for example, cultivating, extraction, dispensary, separate in a building or location.

Carty said per the proposed rules, the activities can occur in the same building but must be separated and delineated.

Another questioner referenced the number of applications an entity or person can apply for.

Carty said, “There is not anything that prohibits someone from applying for multiple license types. If you are interested in multiple, you may apply for multiple.”

Some of the initial application fees are as follows:

  • Registry identification card application: $50
  • Renewal of registry identification card application: $50
  • Physician Certification: To be determined
  • Non-resident registry identification card
    • Five-Day Card: $50
    • 10-Day Card: $75
    • 30-Day Card: $100
  • Cultivation License Application
    • Level 1 – not to exceed 100 plants: $1,000/$500 for existing farmers
    • Level 2 – not to exceed 500 plants: $2,500/$2,000 for existing farmers
    • Level 3 – not to exceed 1000 plants: $5,000/$4,500 for existing farmers
  • Dispensary License Application: $5,000
  • Manufacturer License Application: $5,000
  • Third-Party Vendor Certification Application: $1,000
  • Other fees to note in addition to the application fee:
    • Approval to operate certificate fees
    • Renewal fees

The regulations were established by Act No. 8167. The Office of Cannabis Regulations was established to allow and provide for the beneficial use of medical cannabis in a regulated system for alleviating symptoms caused by debilitating medical conditions and their medical treatments.

Operations of the Office of Cannabis Regulations began on Jan. 3, with two office locations at the V.I. Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs facilities on St. Thomas and on St. Croix.

There are still vacancies on the Cannabis Advisory Board for a farmer, pharmacist, economist or finance expert, and naturopath. Interested parties should submit a cover letter and resume recognizing the vacancy they are interested in filling to info.ocr@ocr.vi.gov.

For more information, contact the Office of Cannabis Regulations by calling 340-714-9755 or by email at info.ocr@ocr.vi.gov.

To view the Office of Cannabis Regulations town hall meeting, click here.

Board members present at the town hall were Catherine Kean, Agriculture Commissioner Positive T.A. Nelson, DLCA Commissioner Richard Evangelista, Assistant Health Commissioner Nicole Craigwell-Syms, and Chris Jones. Gary Jett was absent.

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