New law in USVI leads to review and expungement of minor marijuana cases
Efforts are underway to identify and expunge the sentences of individuals who are currently serving time for “cannabis-related convictions” in the USVI, signaling relief for those affected.
When Act 8680 – the Virgin Islands Cannabis Use Act – was signed into law in January 2023, Governor Albert Bryan announced full and complete pardons of “all criminal convictions for the simple possession of marijuana under the Virgin Islands Code.” Estimates then were that some 300 people had been convicted of simple possession of marijuana in the last 20 years, and that announcement sparked efforts to inform those individuals of the necessary steps to receive an official pardon.
Apart from the pardon, those convicted of simple possession of up to two ounces of marijuana would have their convictions automatically expunged. During Monday’s Government House press briefing, Communications Director Richard Motta revealed that the governor’s Cannabis Auto-Expungement Task Force is “diligently working to identify individuals eligible for expungement of cannabis-related convictions.”
“The task force is actively reviewing over 90 cases where individuals were convicted of simple possession of marijuana under Title 19 of the Virgin Islands code section 607 A, where the amounts were less than one ounce,” said Mr. Motta. To ensure the community understands who qualifies and the intricacies of the expungement process, the task force “is also reaching out to individuals who believe their records may qualify for expungement due to a conviction related to marijuana possession, where the amount was greater than one ounce but less than two ounces.”