It can be tough to establish a business in the US Virgin Islands. And, the obstacles increase when trying to open a new cannabis dispensary. Before starting a dispensary, a number of factors need to be taken into account, including licensing fees, startup costs, location, security, WAPA, and more. The new organization responsible for awarding permits is the Office of Cannabis Regulations (OCR), a subsidiary of the DLCA.
Medical Cannabis Legalization In U.S. Virgin Islands
Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. signed the Medical Cannabis Patient Care Act into law on January 19, 2019. With the help of this law, the Virgin Islands would be able to offer both residents and visitors seeking medical treatment access to a robust medical cannabis program. Visitors with temporary medical cards are permitted to buy up to 3 ounces of medical cannabis during their stay in the US Virgin Islands within a 15-day window.
Legislation allowing the use of cannabis for medical purposes was adopted in the US Virgin Islands; however, the implementing regulations were never finalized, and as a result, the law was never fully implemented. The proposed rules and regulations for the MMJ industry received approval from the OCR in 2022, but they have not yet been finalized despite having been open to public review in September of that same year.
Recreational Cannabis Legalization In U.S. Virgin Island
Act 8680, the Virgin Islands Adult Use Cannabis Act, was proposed by Senators Janelle K. Sarauw and Angel L. Bolques in November 2022. On December 30, 2022, the Senate passed Act 8680 by a vote of 11 to 1. On January 9, it was delivered to Governor Bryan’s desk. He had ten days to approve it, veto it, or approve it to take effect without his signature. Gov. Bryan endorsed the resolution one day prior to the due date.
On January 18, 2023, the Virgin Islands Cannabis Usage Act (Act 8680) was signed into law. It establishes rules for the cultivation, distribution, and consumption of cannabis and legalizes its adult use for medical, sacramental, and other purposes.
In this blog, you will get an insight into the cannabis laws in U.S. Virgin Islands, license requirements, the current cannabis market and how to acquire them, and much more:
Can I Open A Dispensary In U.S. Virgin Islands Right Now?
Yes, you can. However, the U.S. Virgin Islands cannabis authorities are not accepting dispensary license applications as of now.
How Much Can You Buy?
- Virgin Islands residents who are registered patients can possess up to four ounces of cannabis and the maximum number of cannabis-infused items permitted by law. Patients with identification cards that allow for cannabis cultivation are allowed to grow 12 plants in a safe area and keep the cannabis that is harvested from those plants.
- Virgin Island dispensaries will have the option of purchasing products directly from cultivators and processing facilities.
- Non-resident patients are permitted to possess up to three ounces of marijuana and the maximum amount of cannabis products permitted by law.
- Under the new law, individuals who are 21 years of age or older may possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana, a half-ounce of concentrate, and 1 ounce of edibles for recreational, sacramental, or other purposes.
Current Cannabis Laws In U.S. Virgin Islands
- Non-medical marijuana users are now allowed to possess up to one ounce of the substance; violators face fines of up to $100.
- The Virgin Islands MCPCA establishes a “horizontal market” for cannabis. To oversee a supply chain from growing to dispensing, no company is allowed to possess multiple licenses.
- If you are an investor, there are no residency requirements; nevertheless, you are only allowed to possess up to 50% of the company. The majority of stakeholders involved must comply with the residence criteria.
- According to the MCPCA, a dispensary must be 500 feet away from any local public or private school.
- In the US Virgin Islands, you must be at least 21 years old to apply for a job or invest in a cannabis firm.
- According to the Medical Cannabis Patient Care Act (MCPCA), you must have lived in the Virgin Islands for two years before applying for a license to operate a marijuana dispensary.
Is Recreational Cannabis Legal In U.S. Virgin Islands?
Adult-use cannabis is legal in U.S. Virgin Islands.
Tax Rates In U.S. Virgin Islands
The recently enacted law stipulates that dispensaries must charge a tax of at least 18% on all sales, although medical marijuana users are exempt.
The general fund will receive three-fourths of the tax proceeds. Of that sum, 15% will go toward programs focusing on behavioral health, 5% on homelessness, and 5% on initiatives for young people.
Estimated Cannabis Market In U.S. Virgin Islands
The Saint Thomas Source estimates that recreational cannabis in the first year would generate $10 million in government revenue.
Types Of Cannabis Licenses In U.S. Virgin Islands
Following are the types of medical cannabis licenses processed in the U.S. Virgin Islands:
The OCR can issue the following licenses:
- Cultivation License
- Manufacturing License
- Dispensary License
- Research and Development License
- Cannabis Facility License
The following number of licenses can be issued on each of the most populous islands:
St. Thomas Island: Seven cannabis dispensary licenses and up to fifteen cannabis cultivator licenses.
St. John Island: Three cannabis dispensary licenses and up to five cannabis cultivation licenses.
St. Croix Island: Seven cannabis dispensary licenses and up to fifteen cannabis cultivator licenses.
How To Apply For A Dispensary License In U.S. Virgin Islands
Prerequisites to apply for a dispensary license:
According to the Act, any applicant entity’s owner, principal, or member cannot have a conviction for a disqualifying felony offense. All individuals must be at least 21 years old.
The applicant, including each significant owner, must be a legal resident of the United States and provide proof of ownership. Additionally, you need to show that you already own the proposed licensed property.
U.S. Virgin Island Dispensary Fees
|Type of Fee
|License Application Fee (non-refundable)
|Annual Renewal License Fee
What Else Do You Need to Open a Dispensary in U.S. Virgin Islands?
Understand Cannabis Laws In U.S. VI
You need to be aware that every state has different cannabis regulations before you submit an application for a license. Make sure you are fully aware of the laws and regulations so that you can operate your cannabis business ethically and profitably.
Create A Solid and Scalable Business Plan
Creating a business plan will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, communicate your ideas to others, and make reasonable forecasts if you are just starting your dispensary. What must a business plan include is explained here
Any task you choose to do as part of your strategy has a related expense and, ideally, generates some revenue. Consider whether you can forecast revenues to cover all costs while leaving room for long-term profit to get a general understanding of your financial situation.
To determine the first-year cash flow for your business, create a financial model including your financial projection and start-up costs. It will give you an idea of how much money you’ll need on hand to finance your start-up costs.
The financial statements must include data on the business’s expenses and profits by accounting period, as well as information on how the business operates and performs. Additionally, financial statements provide a quick overview of the company’s current financial condition, including its assets and liabilities.
This is one of the most crucial elements of any business plan since it provides an accurate picture of how a company manages its finances or progresses from initial investment to profitability.
Sales & Marketing Plan
The marketing and sales plan describes your place within your target market, the marketing avenues, and messages you’ll use, as well as your sales strategies. A clear image of your growth trajectory, the milestones you intend to reach, and your success objectives must be presented in this section.
Your marketing plan must incorporate tactical goals with particular marketing campaigns that are designed to entice and persuade your target market to purchase your product or service.
A precise estimate of the quantity you are seeking to sell should be included in the sales plan along with detailed instructions on how to get there.
When you take all of these specific strategies into account, you can see how to reach your target audience and turn them into paying customers.
Choosing the best team for your Dispensary in U.S. Virgin Island
Building a successful team requires patience. Like anything great, forming a winning team requires time and patience, so take your time with it.
To grow your company, you must invest the time necessary to find and hire new employees. You must wait until people are adept at working effectively together and working with one another to grow the business.
Choose Your Location With Care
A dispensary must be 500 feet away from any local public or private school, according to the MCPCA.
The same location rules apply when launching any business. Before your dispensary even opens its doors, the location you choose for it can make or ruin the success of your business. You can have the strongest business plan and a ton of funding, but if no one can find your dispensary, you will be at a disadvantage. Convenience reigns supreme.
The location you select will determine the market you will be attempting to capture.
Tech Integration With Leading Technology Partner
The market currently offers a wide range of solutions for dispensary technology. Although your chalkboard menu might be delightful. However, to keep track of your inventory, you’ll need some serious technology.
OCR will expect thorough reporting on your inventory, where it moves about, and where it comes from. Your license will be revoked if you don’t follow through.
Therefore, hire a tech partner to set up your dispensary.
The IT projects that offer a balance between excellent service and reasonable price are the most successful ones. The most expensive offers are frequently not competitive, while the most affordable ones are frequently unrealistic or carry extra costs. Thus be careful while choosing an IT partner.
Once your license has been approved and you are prepared to open your store, you can get in touch with Cure8 IT experts for assistance with setting up your dispensary IT. You can count on us to design and build your store. We provide all of the equipment you require to complete the IT infrastructure for your store, including Wi-Fi, tablets, scanners, printers, security cameras, and more.
How Can Cure8 Help?
We at Cure8 can help you transform your business for the better. Our services include IT consulting, managed IT services, and custom hardware and software solutions.
Check out more about our solutions here.