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'There is actually a draft bill on the legalisation of marijuana' – Hon Natalio D. Wheatley

- said public discussion on draft Marijuana Bill coming soon but warned that legalising marijuana should not be a ‘free for all’
Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture, Dr the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7), speaking at HempFest 2019 at Foxy’s Tamarind Bar on Jost van Dyke, on July 13, 2019, said there is a draft legislation on the legalisation of marijuana, which will be brought to the public for input in the near future. Photo: Team of Reporters
A section of the crowd at HempFest 2019 held at Foxy’s Tamarind Bar on Jost van Dyke on July 13, 2019. Photo: Team of Reporters
A section of the crowd at HempFest 2019 held at Foxy’s Tamarind Bar on Jost van Dyke on July 13, 2019. Photo: Team of Reporters
GREAT HARBOUR, Jost van Dyke, VI- The medicinal value in marijuana cannot be ignored any further, said Virgin Islands’ Agriculture Minister Dr the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) as he told HempFest 2019 that his government is picking up where the previous government left off in the journey to legalising the plant and very soon the community will be consulted to flesh out a National Democratic Party (NDP) drafted bill currently being reviewed.

“If indeed the population of the Virgin Islands, as I believe it to be, is ready for the legalisation of marijuana, then we going to have a discussion about how we are going to do it, discussion about protecting children, discussion about operating heavy machinery and driving, having discussion about the proper regulation about marijuana because we don’t believe that this thing should be a free for all.”

The Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture, Honourable Wheatley, on July 13, 2019, was the Keynote speaker for the second annual HempFest on the sister island of Jost van Dyke, where he gave a commitment to working with the other legislators of the House of Assembly (HoA) to have marijuana decriminalised in the territory.

“Last year I spoke about the medical benefits, the fact that there are persons who, they are alive today because of marijuana. Marijuana has been stigmatised a lot and a lot of persons do not know about the medical benefits of marijuana, so we were speaking about that last year.”

‘Marijuana can no longer be ignored’

Relating a fact that was shared with him by one person who used the ‘CBD Oil’, which resulted in a tumour being dissolved, Hon Wheatley said, “I believe that there is much more of a consensus now, now more than ever, that cannabis indeed has lifesaving properties. That certain cannabis has medicinal values and we cannot ignore it any further.”

CBD oils are oils that contain concentrations of Cannabidiol (CBD), one of many compounds, known as cannabinoids, in the cannabis plant.

Is CBD marijuana?

According to Medical News Today, until recently, the best-known compound in cannabis was delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the most active ingredient in marijuana.

Marijuana contains both THC and CBD, and these compounds have different effects.

THC creates a mind-altering "high" when a person smokes it or uses it in cooking. This is because THC breaks down when we apply heat and introduce it into the body.

CBD is different. Unlike THC, it is not psychoactive. This means that CBD does not change a person's state of mind when they use it.

However, CBD does appear to produce significant changes in the body, and some research suggests that it has medical benefits.

The social debate

According to Hon Wheatley, the social aspect of the plant cannot be ignored as well. “I think there is somewhat of a consensus over the world that imprisoning persons for the consumption and possession of small amounts of marijuana is something that’s unjust and it is not right.”

He said, “And I believe that we are moving more towards a reality that we would decriminalise marijuana at that level and persons would no longer be incarcerated for the possession and consumption of something which is recognised to be lot less detrimental to your health.”

Hon Wheatley alluded to the fact that it is proven that alcohol is much more damaging to one’s health than marijuana, “And we believe that adults should have the ability to be able to choose what they consume on a certain level.”

Draft Bill

The Minister with the portfolio for Agriculture said there is also an overwhelming consensus that marijuana has economic benefits which he spoke of last year at the inaugural HempFest.

“But given the fact that I am in a different capacity here today. I am here actually as the Minister of Agriculture in the government of the Virgin Islands and I have a tremendous opportunity to be able to effect change.”

Giving credit where it is due, Hon Wheatley told the gathering that the discussion on the matter had started in the NDP government, which preceded the current VIP administration. “Perhaps it was a little quieter discussion but there was a discussion about cannabis and there is actually a draft bill on the legalisation of marijuana that I am currently reviewing. This was done from the last administration.”

That’s the one statement that attracted a loud round of applause.

“So you can expect that in the very near future, that as a government and the Minister of Agriculture, we will be engaging the community in a discussion about the legalisation of marijuana.”

He lauded the promotion of HempFest, which he said allows persons who support the movement, a loud voice, “Because those who are against the legalisation of marijuana sometimes those are the loudest voices. So we want to make sure that persons who support the legalisation of marijuana let their voices be heard.”

But he firmly stated, “We certainly know that marijuana does have THC and [THC] does have an impact on your disposition. It has an impact on you definitely to be able to accomplish certain tasks, so we don’t want to fool anyone into thinking that we think persons should just be up and down smoking marijuana through the streets without any sort of regulation.”

13 Responses to “'There is actually a draft bill on the legalisation of marijuana' – Hon Natalio D. Wheatley”

  • 1 (15/07/2019, 18:07) Like (7) Dislike (9) Reply
    free the weed
  • Medical (15/07/2019, 18:21) Like (6) Dislike (9) Reply
    I am doing aa study on Marijuana. I don't want any stupid or negative answers please.
    Can anyone give me a proven medical benefit from Marijuana?
    Has it proven Medically to Heal, or cure any illness world wide? Prove your answers Please;
    • ... (15/07/2019, 18:37) Like (16) Dislike (2) Reply
      Its 2019 google it
      • Medical (15/07/2019, 21:19) Like (3) Dislike (7) Reply
        I ask for studies don't tell me google it. Stupid answer I didn't want.
    • Gillian (16/07/2019, 07:33) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      I do not have any medical proof but I can tell you I have rheumatoid arthritis and take CBD oils on a daily basis I have discovered a huge improvement in my health and mobility since starting.
      I am not taking any other medication and would recommend CBD oils to anyone suffering from any form of arthritis.
  • vex (15/07/2019, 18:44) Like (16) Dislike (5) Reply
    Bravo, Mr Minister, 1)lower the passing grade to 50%
    2) legalize marijuana most of those same 50% passing grade students will end up using the stuff.
    3) what has become of the fishery? We need fresh fish
    4) agriculture is not only planting and promoting weed get down to business or we will VOTE YOU OUT next election.
  • True Story (15/07/2019, 19:06) Like (8) Dislike (2) Reply
    The school children are already using it. Not all. Some are smart and others just experience or experiment things in life. It’s life can’t stop that. Some will and some will not.
  • Citizen (15/07/2019, 21:38) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Minister of Education in truth, not all ae born with that gift of being smart. Is there a plan to evade the dry season and boost agriculture? I will suggest we promote a PVC pipe system above ground. We need to restore the fish market. we need a state own school bus system. We need ways to educate out school on the danger of smoking. We need local government to go throughout the community and have dialog and environmental discussion.
    Here you are talking about WEED; what stupid-ness is this?
    Let this school standard fall and you will definitely have a last 4 years.
  • Think again (15/07/2019, 21:52) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Let's see how many foolish enough to believe this draft Bill will allow marijuana to be kept on you to smoke at random.

    It is no different than persons who do not wish to inhale cigarettes in their surroundings.

    Don't get ahead of yourselves.

    "But he firmly stated, “We certainly know that marijuana does have THC and [THC] does have an impact on your disposition. It has an impact on you definitely to be able to accomplish certain tasks, so we don’t want to fool anyone into thinking that we think persons should just be up and down smoking marijuana through the streets without any sort of regulation.”
  • @medical (16/07/2019, 07:42) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    I’m totally agreeing with you. A lot of people use this thing and go crazy. I don’t understand what is in it. Anytime I can get prove that it’s helpful in health issue then I’m up to it.
    But then again there are so many more important things to do in this country I don’t know how the government can’t see. Am I seeing more than everyone else?
  • Hmm (16/07/2019, 08:35) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply


    The Minister was at the Hemp Fest and probably became high, he couldn’t think straight. That’s all.

  • Jordana (16/07/2019, 09:01) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Marijuana as we all know in its “natural” state does have properties that can alter the mind while yes having medicinal benefits.. @ “Medical@.. Dr. Sanjay Gupta whom is a world renowned physician and he’s also the medical correspondent for CNN, he did many studies on the medicinal benefits of marijuana (CBD part of the plant) and this can all be seen in WEEDs
    1 & II..and there is also a physician out of I believe it’s Trinidad that came to Peebles Hosp and did a presentation on the benefits of medical marijuana.. yes in places like the US persons do not have free rain on the use of marijuana in its natural state; they are allowed x amount and when it comes to being treated with it a prescription is necessary to get it..I have read stories in my research on the medical benefits of marijuana where persons travel all the way to Canada in the past for treatment.. I don’t condone the open use of marijuana in its natural state rather regularize the amount one can use and if caught with more then penalize them for we don’t want to be a country with a set of “marijuana induced “druggies” for use of it in its natural form does have ill side effects for e.g. one can get drug-induced psychosis and it does kill brain cells in persons less than 25 yrs for their brains are not yet fully developed..so yes regulate the Amount one can use..but I am all for medicinal marijuana- first of all it’s natural and not man made medicine and yes studies have shown enormous benefits using it..economically it can create revenue in the sense that persons will be traveling here to purchase it but one has to ensure that these prescriptions are legit and the pharmacies/companies supplying it themselves have to be regulated..
    • Swish (17/07/2019, 19:55) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      It does not kill brain cells. Research that cruel experiment. In fact it protects the brain.

      " one has to ensure that these prescriptions are legit and the pharmacies/companies supplying it"

      Firstly its a plant not a prescription. It is perfectly safe in its "natural state". its a plant. Ban raw garlic and allow the stores *cough* pharmacies to sell legit prescription garlic oil.


      How does that sound?


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