U.S. Virgin Islands Cannabis License Guidelines

Office of Cannabis Regulation

U.S. Virgin Islands Cannabis License Guidelines

The Office of Cannabis Regulation (OCR) is the U.S.Virgin Islands (USVI) regulatory body proposed to oversee all cannabis related matters in the territory. The OCR will be under the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs (DLCA). Led by a 9-member USVI Cannabis Advisory Board, the OCR will be in charge of:

  • Registering & issuing medical marijuana cards (referred to as “med cards”)
  • Regulating acceptable medical conditions for medicinal use
  • Licensing marijuana growers, cannabis testing facilities, and dispensaries

With the passing of adult-use cannabis in the Virgin Islands on 18 January 2023, Governor Albert Bryan Jr. signed into law the Virgin Islands Cannabis Use Act (Act 8680), which allows for the legal use by adults for medicinal, sacramental and other uses and also regulates the production, distribution and use of cannabis.

However, a number of actions must take place within the OCR most notably so, the finalization of the Rules and Regulations governing the cannabis industry must take place before the new law can fully take effect.

The Medical Cannabis Patient Care Act (MCPCA) details the regulations and sets the fees for starting a “medical marijuana facility” in the USVI. Here’s an outline of what you need to keep in mind when starting your own dispensary, manufacturing, or grow operation.

It is unclear when the regulations of the newly approved industry will be in place.

The MCPCA states that you must be resident for at least 2 years before applying for some license and as many as 5 for others.  Furthermore, the majority owner or shareholders of any cannabis business must also have been a resident for at least 5 years.

The Virgin Islands MCPCA sets a “horizontal market” in the cannabis industry. In other words, no business may hold multiple licenses to control a supply chain from growing to dispensing.

If you are an investor, residency rules do not apply, but you can only own less than 50% of the business. The majority stakeholders must meet the residency requirements.

The MCPCA states that a dispensary must be 500 feet from any public or private school in the territory.

U.S. Virgin Islands Cannabis Law & Compliance

Several laws and ordinances regulate the U.S. Virgin Islands legal cannabis industry, as well as the many different steps in the supply chain. These laws range over dispositions for cultivators, manufacturers, distributors and retail dispensaries. The most recent news can be found on these websites:

FAQs

How old do I have to be to be an investor or apply for a cannabis license?

You must be 21 years of age.

I didn’t have all the materials required and my application was denied. Do I get a refund for the application fee?

Your application must be perfect with all the required documents and stipulations set by the MCPCA and the OCR. Applications that are denied will only be reimbursed $2,500 of their $5,000 application fee. Seek a professional before submitting your application!

To successfully apply for your dispensary license you will need:

  • Legal Name of the Dispensary
  • Physical address of the prospective Dispensary
  • Names, birth dates, proof of residency for all owners and investors of the Dispensary
  • Business Plan, including plans for security, record keeping and product diversion mitigation

The OCR will require more information when they start processing applications.

How long must I be a Virgin Islands resident to apply for a growers license?

You must be a resident for 24 months prior to applying for a growers license.

I want to have an outdoor grow, do I need a special fence or equipment?

A 10-foot fence or greater must surround the outdoor grow operation. The fence must also obstruct the view of the growing area from the surrounding area.

I have a grow, can I sell my product to patients with a valid med card or of legal adult-use age?

Growers can only sell marijuana to manufacturers and dispensaries. Manufacturers can only sell to dispensaries. Only dispensaries can sell to cannabis patients.

U.S. Virgin Islands Cannabis License Types

Cannabis Dispensary

Virgin Island cannabis dispensaries will be able to buy directly from both cannabis growers and cannabis processing facilities.  From there, they will sell medical marijuana products to med-card holders. Dispensaries will also collect taxes (5% of sales) and pass them along to BIR.

The fee to start your dispensary in the US Virgin Islands is $5,000. With an annual renewal rate of the same price.

Your application must be perfect with all the required documents and stipulations set by the MCPCA and the OCR. Applications that are denied will only be reimbursed $2,500 of their $5,000 application fee. Seek a professional before submitting your application!

To successfully apply for your dispensary license you will need:

  • Legal Name of the Dispensary
  • Physical address of the prospective Dispensary
  • Names, birth dates, proof of residency for all owners and investors of the Dispensary
  • Business Plan, including plans for security, record keeping and product diversion mitigation

The OCR will require more information when they start processing applications.

Cannabis Grower

Licensing regulations for cannabis growers in the USVI will have different tiers according to the number of plants at the grow facility. The growers licensing levels are:

  • Tier 1 – Not to exceed 100 plants
  • Tier 2 – Not to exceed 500 plants
  • Tier 3 – Not to exceed 1,000 plants

The MCPCA states that these are the total plant counts a GrowOp may have, not just flowering cannabis plants.

Growers can only sell marijuana to processing facilities or dispensaries, they are not allowed to sell to med card holders directly.

The MCPCA taxes the sale of marijuana from growers to dispensaries and processing facilities at 10% of their per-pound selling prices. Each grow operation will be responsible for collecting these taxes and turning them into the VI Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). Check out where this tax money goes.

Finally, growers may not produce anything more than flowers or plant-based products. Therefore, only processing facilities may produce edibles, concentrates, extracts, salves, etc.

Medical Weed in the Virgin Islands will be handled by the Office of Cannabis Regulations (OCR). The MCPCA has already laid out the starting guidelines and fees for medical marijuana growers.

Just like the residency requirement which helps promote locals in business, special discounts were given to farmers. Local established farms will receive a $500 discount on all growers licenses. For a Level I license, that’s a 50% discount!

Grow Op licenses in the USVI are broken up into three levels. Each set the maximum amount of plants on hand for a grow operation.

  • 100 Plants – $1000 – Level I
  • 500 Plants – $3000 – Level II
  • 1000 Plants – $5000 – Level III

For established local farmers:

  • 100 Plants – $500 – Level I
  • 500 Plants – $2500 – Level II
  • 1000 Plants – $4500 – Level III

Manufacturing Facility

Processing facilities are the only businesses that can manufacture cannabis products, and must sell their goods to dispensaries. Patients can not directly buy from manufacturers.

In other words, processing facilities will buy flower, shake, and plant by-products directly from growers. These businesses can then produce concentrates, edibles, lotions, balms, oils, and other products for exclusive sale to dispensaries.

A US Virgin Islands Manufacturing License costs $5000. This license allows businesses to manufacture marijuana products, such as concentrates, edibles, baths, balms, or any other product that contains THC.

Manufacturing guidelines are listed as Coming Soon on the USVI website.

Testing

Though testing facilities are included in the law, their functions and regulations are not clear. After briefly mentioning these “testing facilities”, the MCPCA gives neither rules nor licensing fees of any sort.

The OCR will be in charge of quality control for marijuana and cannabis products, along setting guidelines for documenting the “nutritional facts” (THC and CBD levels) for said products.

Testing for pesticides, chemicals, and heavy metals is essential for a safe and healthy medical marijuana program in the US Virgin Islands.

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