Home Marijuana British Virgin Islands Hashish: Bother in Paradise – Canna Legislation Weblog™

British Virgin Islands Hashish: Bother in Paradise – Canna Legislation Weblog™


In response to the UK authorities, “the BVI [British Virgin Islands] is a separate authorized jurisdiction to the UK and has its personal legal guidelines.” This being the case, one would assume {that a} medical hashish invoice handed unanimously by the BVI’s legislature would don’t have any downside turning into legislation. Nevertheless, the territory’s governor—a British civil servant appointed by the Queen—has not but assented to the Cannabis Licensing Act 2020, regardless of its approval by the legislature in June 2020. Assent can also be being withheld to a separate invoice to decriminalize possession of small quantities of hashish.

If authorized, the Act would enable possession of medical hashish by adults. Relying on the quantity, a unique regulatory framework would apply. For possession of between one and 50 grams, a self-declaration kind would suffice, whereas medical approval could be crucial for portions exceeding that vary. Possession of 1 gram or much less would basically be unregulated. Guests to the BVI would be capable of possess hashish beneath these situations, a nod to the BVI’s vacationer business. The Act additionally envisions a extra permissive framework for CBD.

Whereas beneath the BVI Constitution the governor has the ability to disclaim assent to payments (in his function because the Queen’s consultant), this energy isn’t wielded frivolously. In response to the speaker of the native legislature, “in fashionable instances, the monarch, governor-generals, or governors all the time assent to a invoice handed by the Folks’s Home, on the recommendation of the federal government of the day, because the royal assent is taken into account a formality.” In response to the speaker, the final time royal assent was denied within the UK was in 1708.

On December 10, Governor Augustus Jaspert explained that he “could solely assent to a invoice whether it is absolutely compliant with worldwide rules,” such because the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Medicine. For that reason, the Act has acquired “intensive line-by-line scrutiny within the UK,” to make sure compliance with the nation’s worldwide obligations. Jasper added that, as a precondition to assent, the BVI and UK governments should enter into an MOU to switch related powers from the Dwelling Workplace in London (analogous to the DOJ in the US) to a brand new BVI Hashish Licensing Authority.

A few of Jasper’s comments on the difficulty counsel he has private considerations about each proposed hashish payments (“I’d not be doing my responsibility if I didn’t take into account them absolutely”). Given the governor’s background, sturdy views concerning hashish use wouldn’t be stunning. In response to the BVI authorities, Jaspert “served within the UK Dwelling Workplace as a Deputy Director, main native policing and enhancing the general public’s confidence within the police and the Authorities’s methods to cut back hurt from the misuse of alcohol and unlawful medication from 2007-2009. Throughout this time, he additionally served as a Justice of the Peace in a legal courtroom in South West London.”

This all mentioned, Jasper’s current statement made it sound as if it isn’t actually his name, pointing to considerations again house. Furthermore, it might be the case that his hesitation concerning the invoice is because of flak from Dwelling Workplace mandarins, quite than private views about hashish.

For Virgin Islanders, this may be chilly consolation: Both means, individuals for whom they didn’t vote are holding up laws authorized by their elected representatives. It could additionally imply the issues for the measure wouldn’t finish with Jaspert’s departure on the finish of this yr. And hostility to hashish legalization in London would bode unwell for efforts in different British territories, similar to a just lately launched invoice in Bermuda (which might legalize leisure use).

Understandably, Virgin Islanders usually are not reacting effectively to the governor’s unprecedented holdup. The legislature’s speaker has characterised the denial of assent as an “insult,” including that the legislature ought to have the ability “to override an unelected governor when he refuses to assent to a invoice.” For his half, BVI Premier Andrew Fahie mentioned, “We have been proactive and diligent that every one the measures within the invoice met what the United Nations said and past so we aren’t in violation. And we saved saying that on a regular basis. There isn’t any authorized violation so we couldn’t perceive why it was not being assented to,” including he hopes “this isn’t one thing carried out to stall” the laws. In any case, the delay in assent to the Act is resulting in a lack of curiosity by investors, in keeping with Fahie.

Having grown up in a neighboring Caribbean island that has had its personal points with exterior powers (Puerto Rico), the story of the BVI’s hashish invoice has a sadly acquainted ring. It could be hyperbole to evoke colonialism: The Act was handed by an elected legislature and the discontent over the denial of assent highlights how uncommon such interventions are. It’s true the BVI’s standing as a British territory locations limits on what it will probably do, however the territory would presumably be free to comply with the instance of different Caribbean islands who obtained independence from the UK. But the legacies of the Caribbean’s sophisticated previous nonetheless echo.

If that is by some means misplaced on Jaspert or the UK authorities, it absolutely isn’t on Virgin Islanders. Whoever is at fault for the holdup of the Act—the governor, London, or each—ought to heed the phrases of a statesman from one other Caribbean nation, who said, “the individuals of this nice little democracy have spoken in a most dignified and eloquent method [and] the voice of the individuals, is the voice of God.”