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Cannabis Board Approves Rules and Regs, Announces New OCR Executive Director

The Cannabis Advisory Board, led by Dr. Catherine Kean, approved rules and announced a new executive director at its meeting on Wednesday. (Screenshot of board meeting)

The Cannabis Advisory Board (CAB) convened on Wednesday to finalize the approval of published rules and regulations and to announce Joanne Moorehead as the Office of Cannabis Regulation’s new executive director.

“I’d like to extend my gratitude to the board for having the confidence in me and the job that I will be doing as the new executive director,” shared Moorehead, who has 15 years of experience in non-profit administration and fundraising. “I would also like to echo the board’s comments that the former executive director did an amazing job, and I look forward to continuing that trajectory so that we can finally realize the vision that started with the Cannabis Use Act and the Office of Cannabis Regulation.”

Five candidates had applied for the position, board members shared.

The published rules and regulations, meanwhile, were released on Feb. 14, marking a significant milestone in the Virgin Islands’ cannabis industry. The board’s decision to approve them, made in a unanimous vote, solidifies the framework for the Office of Cannabis Regulation (OCR) and signals a pivotal moment in the evolving cannabis landscape.

Chair of the Cannabis Advisory Board, Dr. Catherine Kean, expressed her satisfaction with the outcome, stating, “This is a historical moment. I have been on the board for five years and I am just really happy that we remained dedicated to going through multiple versions of these rules and regulations to where we can finally approve them and move forward.”

The newly approved rules and regulations, which have been in development for over a year, will serve as a foundational framework for the OCR. Terrence Positive Nelson, a board member, remarked, “I am very pleased that we’ve made it to this point. I’m looking forward to the day when I can join the general public in walking to a public dispensary and purchasing some V.I. produced cannabis.”

During the meeting, board member Richard Evangelista provided an overview of public comments received during the 30-day comment period. Two areas that received the most feedback were: Section 777-14E1, which addresses the amount of product that a cannabis manufacturer must purchase from unaffiliated third parties monthly, and Section 777-14F, which eliminates the requirement for a manufacturer to purchase or acquire 15 percent of the cannabis in its inventory for manufacturing.

In response to the comments, Kean stated, “We thank the public for the comments given to us, they are all very insightful and at some point, we will try to address most of the comments in a manner that befits rolling out the product safely.”

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