Marijuana legalization is stalled in the US Virgin Islands, the Thai cabinet approves a pilot program of medicinal opium and magic mushroom cultivation, and more.Marijuana Policy
US Virgin Islands Marijuana Legalization Stalls. Gov. Albert Bryan, Jr. signed a marijuana legalization bill into law in January, but seven months later, progress is stalled. The Office of Cannabis Regulations does not have the money to hire staff, the Cannabis Advisory Board lacks enough members to constitute a quorum, and the legalization law itself needs to go back to the legislature to address flaws that have emerged since it passed.
As a result: "For the average individual, use of the product in a legal way, currently, really doesn't exist," said board Chairwoman Dr. Catherine Kean.
The board last met in public 11 months ago and was preparing to approve rules for medical marijuana, which had been approved in 2019, when it abandoned the process in anticipation of the new law legalizing recreational and sacramental use by people 21 and over.
"The course that we had been on was completely changed. It meant that all the rules and regs that we had and were about to launch and move into the portion where we put out RFPs, or requests for proposals for contractors to assist with licensing and testing," Kean explained. "So, we're essentially put back to the drawing board. That meant that legal counsel had to review the bill, as did all of us. We had to review the bill, we had to go back to our legal counsel, have our legal counsel come up with new rules and regulations for the new adult recreational bill, so that was a very lengthy, time-consuming process," Kean said.
While the government has made efforts to remind citizens that marijuana remains illegal, the grey market is thriving and marijuana is widely available for sale throughout the territory.
Alabama Company Asks Judge to Block Medical Marijuana Licenses. A company that failed to win a medical marijuana license asked a judge Tuesday to block the state from issuing licenses to anyone. The company argued that a state commission improperly deliberated behind closed doors before choosing winners of the lucrative licenses.
Last week, the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission nominated and approved companies after meeting in private for several hours. Alabama Always, a company that was not among the winners, said the commission violated the Open Meetings Act, and is seeking a temporary restraining order to block the licenses from being issued.
The company claimed commissioners "retreated into executive session, only to emerge three and a half hours later and ratify a slate of applicants that it had voted on during executive session."
The commission, though, said that while commissioners met in private to receive information about license applicants, it did not deliberate in private.
Now, the court will sort it out. In the meantime, Alabama patients are left out in the cold.
German Cabinet Approves Scaled-Back Marijuana Legalization. The cabinet on Wednesday approved a scaled-back plan to legalize the personal use of marijuana by allowing adults to possess up to 25 grams of the drugs. They can also grow up to three plants for private use or participate in a co-op or collective that can have up to 500 members. The law will be evaluated after four years.
The legislation, which is expected to approved by lawmakers before year's end, marks "a turning point in an unfortunately failed cannabis drug policy," Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said.
The German government initially proposed a broader legalization complete with commercial sales, but ran into obstacles with the European Union and dropped commercial legalization -- for now. It now says it will consider a pilot program of commercial sales some time in the future.
Thai Cabinet Approves Medicinal Trials of Opium and Magic Mushrooms. The cabinet has approved a royal draft decree to allow the cultivation of opium and magic mushrooms for medicinal use on a trial basis.
The Justice Ministry presented the proposal, which also has the support of key government bodies including the Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Ministry, Interior Ministry, Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council, and the Royal Thai Police.
Under the pilot project, the International Narcotics Control College will grow opium, while the Government Pharmaceutical Organization will extract morphine from the poppies in a bid to reduce dependence on foreign opiate medication supplies.
The decree also aims to enable the growth of magic mushrooms in designated universities and educational institutions across four regions of Thailand. The aim is to create anti-depressant drugs from psilocybin.