87.7 F
Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, June 23, 2024
HomeNewsLocal governmentBryan Approves Cannabis Rules and Regulations; Officials Say Severe Weather Coming

Bryan Approves Cannabis Rules and Regulations; Officials Say Severe Weather Coming

Government House Director of Communications Richard Motta Jr. announces that Gov. Bryan has approved the rules and regulations governing the Virgin Islands Cannabis Program. (Photo courtesy Government House Facebook live stream)

During Tuesday’s weekly Government House press briefing, officials announced a significant advancement in implementing legal cannabis use in the USVI. Details regarding inclement weather affecting the islands this week were also shared.

“I am pleased to announce that Gov. Bryan recently signed off on rules and regulations governing the Virgin Islands Cannabis Program,” said Director of Communications Richard Motta Jr.

“The Virgin Islands Cannabis Program is a hybrid of medicinal cannabis and adult-use cannabis programs. [The program] provides special protections and benefits to medicinal cannabis users,” Motta explained. “It also is a document that will govern the rollout of cannabis licenses and third-party vendor certifications. It also outlines the duties and responsibilities of the Director of the V.I. Office of Cannabis Regulation (OCR) and the V.I. Cannabis Advisory Board (CAB),” Motta added.

Regulations about cannabis use in the territory were recently approved by the CAB. Bryan’s support will provide more opportunities for cannabis users and prescribers to access the substance legally.

“Gov. Bryan is particularly proud of what the legislature and the Executive Branch have done regarding the USVI’s [cannabis] program,” Motta affirmed. “We are the first in the country to allow for sacramental use, as we recognize as a territory that there are members in our community who partake in cannabis use for sacramental purposes,” he noted.

“Anyone interested in getting involved in the program, whether as a designated caregiver, prescribing physician, a licensee, a third-party vendor, or a consultant, should reach out to the Office of Cannabis Regulation,” Motta stated.

Hurricane Season and Inclement Weather 

Daryl Jaschen, director of the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency and Ernesto Morales, a warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service in San Juan, Puerto Rico, joined Tuesday’s briefing to share information about inclement weather expected this week and provided information ahead of hurricane season.

From left, Ernesto Morales, a warning coordination meteorologist at the NWS, and Daryl Jaschen, Director of VITEMA, provide updates ahead of inclement weather this week.(Photo courtesy Government House Facebook live stream)

Morales explained that the local islands can expect elevated temperatures and heavy rainfall, and the Heat Index may be very high. (The NWS defines the Heat Index as “what the temperature feels like to the human body when relative humidity is combined with the air temperature.”)

“[On Tuesday], for the first time this year, we issued an Extreme Heat Warning for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, especially the island of St. Croix,” Morales explained. “That means we may feel the heat index above 108 degrees [Fahrenheit].”

Morales said that possible rainfall beginning on Wednesday may help alleviate some of the hot weather. However, high temperatures are anticipated to return this weekend, and staying cool and hydrated is essential.

“Most of the [forecast rainfall] activity is going to occur between [this] Wednesday and Thursday night,” Morales stated. “Therefore, expect a lot of rain, between two and four inches,” he continued.

Heavy rainfall is possible across Puerto Rico and the USVI, beginning on Wednesday. (Photo courtesy NWS, San Juan, Puerto Rico)

Morales noted that the exact amount of precipitation may vary. However, the ground is very saturated, and Morales stressed the importance of residents being prepared for severe weather. Any additional heavy rainfall could raise the possibility of flash flooding or mudslides.

VITEMA Director Jaschen encouraged residents to sign up for emergency alerts issued by the agency. He noted that VITEMA is working on preparations for hurricane season, which begins on June 1, and information regarding hurricane season preparedness activities will be provided soon. The V.I. Human Services Department is expected to release detailed information regarding emergency storm shelters for hurricane season, including pet-friendly shelters and facilities equipped for individuals with special needs, in the next couple of weeks.

V.I. Wellness Fair

Motta reminded residents about the upcoming “V.I. Be Well” Wellness Fair, which will be held from Saturday, June 1, through Sunday, June 9. The V.I. Health Department initiative will provide USVI residents with free access to medical treatments and evaluations, including dental and optometry services, pediatric physical exams, mental health assessments, and various health screenings and tests.

Appointments are not required to visit a clinic for care, and residents will not be asked for any forms of identification or proof of health insurance. Registration for appointments held for older adults and persons with disabilities is encouraged and will become available online starting Wednesday at noon.

The Wellness Fair’s official website provides more information about the locations and times of the clinics offering healthcare services.

Community Updates and Accolades

Motta announced that a sewer line installation being completed by the V.I. Waste Management Authority and its contractor, Marco Trucking, is nearly finished in Christiansted, St. Croix. Preparations for fresh road paving in downtown Christiansted have begun, and the downtown paving operation is expected to be completed by the end of August 2024.

“The Virgin Islands Public Works Department, [along with] Virgin Islands Paving Inc., has started preparing for road paving in downtown Christiansted,” Motta stated. “Thanks to funding from the V.I. Interior Department, Market Street, Hill Street, East Street, Queen Street, and Prince Street will undergo milling, paving, and drainage improvements over the next few weeks,” he continued.

Finally, Motta also marked National Emergency Medical Services Week and National Public Works Week with words of gratitude.

“This week is both EMS and Public Works Week,” Motta explained. “I want to take this opportunity to share my gratitude and appreciation on behalf of Gov. Bryan for the hardworking public servants who serve our Virgin Islands community in both agencies,” he said.



Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.

Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.