The issuing of the first hemp production licence was big news for the small territory.
The U.S. Virgin Islands are a group of Caribbean islands to the east of Puerto Rico consisting of three main islands: St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix, plus a few dozen smaller islands.
The entity to score the first licence, announced a couple of days prior to Xmas, was Crucian Hemp Farms, LLLP. The company is now registered as a hemp grower, seed distributor and transporter after a unanimous vote by the Virgin Islands Hemp Commission members.
Governor Albert Bryan Jr has big hopes for the new crop.
“This begins a new economic era in the U.S. Virgin Islands that will not only benefit the government through new revenue streams, but also will provide economic and growth opportunities for the Territory’s farmers and local business entrepreneurs,” he said.
Home to around 110,000 people, the U.S. Virgin Islands doesn’t have a great deal of industry happening – tourism is the biggest employer and there’s only limited agriculture. Unemployment is high, so hemp could provide much- needed jobs.
It seems the Islands will be a great place to grow hemp. Crucian Hemp Farms will harvest hemp for CBD extraction up to 3 times a year, with potential yields of up to 4,000 pounds dry weight biomass per acre.
It was back in 2016 when the U.S. Virgin Islands enacted legislation providing the Department of Agriculture and the University of the Virgin Islands in conjunction with the Industrial Hemp Commission authority to oversee hemp research and the implementation of a program – and that legislation saw some significant opposition. Still, common sense prevailed and while it has taken years to get to this point, it looks like the Islands are good to go. Its hemp plan was given the USDA’s blessing in May last year, meaning the program will be operating fully within U.S. federal law.
As well as cultivating hemp for CBD, licensed participants will be able to grow the crop for food and fibre purposes.
With regard to medical marijuana in the Islands generally, the Medical Cannabis Patient Care Act provides a medical cannabis program for Virgin Islands residents and medical tourists. CBD products are subject to the same regulations as other cannabis medicines.