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BVI should consider releasing, expunging criminal records of persons convicted for cannabis

BVI should consider releasing, expunging criminal records of persons convicted for cannabis

Government legislator Shereen Flax-Charles has called for the BVI to consider releasing persons who are serving prison sentences for marijuana possession.
The first-term legislator made that statement while contributing to the debate on the Cannabis Licensing Act in the House of Assembly on Friday, July 26.

She said she supports the legislation which, among other things, provides for the cultivation, processing, importation, exportation, distribution, and sale of medical cannabis in the BVI.

“We need to think about the release of all persons in prison that are currently incarcerated for cannabis possession. Expungement of [a cannabis-related] criminal record should be a reality once certain criteria is met,” Flax-Charles said.

She made that statement against the backdrop that medical marijuana would not have been possible if there was no recreational use at the outset.

While a discussion on her suggestion may not directly apply to the Cannabis Licensing Act, Flax-Charles said she believes considerations for local Rastafarians might have a place in the said licensing legislation.

“I would suggest incorporating the Rastafarian community in this licensing process as they would have had a significant amount of expertise on this matter,” she said.

The proposed legislation says a person must obtain a license in order to participate in any of the activities prescribed in the bill.

The Bill outlines several types of licenses to include a Cultivation Licence, an Import and Export License, a Medicinal Cannabis Dispensary Licence, a Processing Licence, a Research & Development Licence, a Transportation Licence, and an Analytical Testing Licence.

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