Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. has nominated four people to take seats on the Virgin Islands Cannabis Advisory Board, which is charged with creating the regulations and policies governing the medical marijuana industry in the territory.
Act 8167, signed into law in January, makes medical marijuana legal in the territory and sets up a framework for creating regulations.
The law set a deadline of 120 days to put regulations in place, but as with many V.I. boards, the Cannabis Board did not have members yet and was not able to establish the regulations.
In May, the Legislature extended the deadline.
Nomination letters were delivered to Senate President Novelle Francis Jr. for:
– Miguel Tricoche, a St. Croix resident and director of consumer affairs at the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs.
– Dr. Catherine A. Kean, a private practice physician on St. Thomas, representing the Health Department.
– Nicole A. Craigwell-Syms, a St. Thomas resident and deputy commissioner of the Department of Health.
– Hugo Roller, a farmer and business owner on St. John.
The 32nd Legislature passed the Virgin Islands Medicinal Patient Care Act – Act 8167 – in December, and Governor Bryan signed it into law in January.
Act 8167 calls for the formation of a nine-member Cannabis Advisory Board comprising representatives of the Health Department, the Agriculture industry and other residents, to create the rules governing medical marijuana in the territory.
The act also calls for the creation of the Office of Cannabis Regulation under the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs.
In May, the Legislature amended the original bill to extend the time period for establishing the board and the Office of Cannabis Regulation.
The amended act, which Bryan signed into law also in May, requires the Cannabis Advisory Board to be appointed and confirmed and to have a set of rules in place by Dec. 31. It also requires the Office of Cannabis Regulation to begin issuing registry identification cards to qualifying patients by Dec. 31.
Craigwell-Syms worked at the Office of Management and Budget for 10 years, and has a bachelor’s degree from Alabama State University, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Public Administration from Southern Illinois University, and a doctorate in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Capella University.
Tricoche has experience as a merchandising execution manager for Home Depot and as a program/project manager consultant in Atlanta. He has a bachelor’s degree in math from the University of the Virgin Islands, a Lean Six Sigma green belt and black belt certification from Emory University, and an EMBA in business administration from the Kennesaw State University Michael J. Coles College of Business.
Dr. Kean is an obstetrician/gynecologist associated with Schneider Regional Medical Center on St. Thomas. She has a bachelor of science degree from the University of the Virgin Islands and a doctor of medicine degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
Roller is a farmer on St. John who was recommended for a board seat by Agriculture Commissioner Positive Nelson. A longtime resident of the territory, Roller owns the Coral Bay Organic Farm and Garden Center, which has been in operation in St. John for 25 years.