Would you like to win a U.S. Virgin Islands cannabis manufacturing license under the new adult-use laws? The merit-based process for a limited number of manufacturing licenses will be highly competitive.
The Office of Cannabis Regulations (OCR) puts a cap on the number of USVI cannabis manufacturing licenses it will issue on each main island. In addition, OCR will award merit-based cannabis manufacturing licenses only to those with the highest scores for the manufacturing licenses allowed on the specific island for which the applicant has applied.
Below, our US Virgin Islands marijuana consultants provide a step-by-step guide to help you through the application process for adult-use marijuana manufacturing licenses.
Tips for winning U.S. Virgin Islands cannabis manufacturing licenses
Step 1: Read Laws and Regulations
First of all, read Act 8680 (“The Virgin Islands Cannabis Use Act“). It amends Title 19 Virgin Islands Code, chapter 34 in its entirety, creating a new legal cannabis program for adult-use marijuana businesses.
Secondly, become familiar with the website of The Office of Cannabis Regulations (OCR). It oversees the development and implementation of USVI’s cannabis manufacturing licenses. Also, the OCR has the final say on scoring and awarding of all adult-use cannabis licenses in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Make yourself familiar with the OCR’s regulatory news updates.
Lastly, our cannabis business license application writers make it simple for you to win a marijuana business license in the US Virgin Islands. Let us help you do it! Next, let’s take a look at the proposed timeline.
Step 2: Determine if you’re eligible
The Act bars any owner, principal, or member of the entity applicant from having been convicted of a Disqualifying Felony Offense. All must be of at least 21 years of age.
In addition, no license may be held by, or issued to, any person or any Immediate Family Member of any person who, at any time within the previous 12 months, held elected office in the executive or legislative branches of the Government of the Virgin Islands, or was employed by the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs, the OCR, or who was a member of the Board.
Finally, the applicant, including each majority owner, must meet residency requirements and supply documentation of ownership interest. Also, you must supply proof of possession of your proposed licensed premises. Reach out to our USVI marijuana manufacturing consultants and we can help you make sure you are qualified.
Step 3: Engage a consultant for your US Virgin Islands cannabis manufacturing license application
- Development of your cannabis business plan,
- Team recruitment,
- Facility design,
- Operational support, including Standard Operating Procedures for all activities,
- Employee training, and more.
Our cannabis business consultants can help you setup your manufacturing business from start to finish, including raising capital. For that, you need to form your business entity.
Step 4: Form a business entity
An applicant for a cannabis manufacturing license in the Virgin Islands must organize under 13 V.I.C. or 26 V.I.C. of the Virgin Islands Code. If you’re not sure what type of business entity would work best for your proposed operations, engage our manufacturing consultants or work with an attorney to choose the best structure for your business.
Step 5: Develop Business Plan
For USVI cannabis dispensaries, the business plan must show at a minimum:
- The ability to maintain an adequate supply of cannabis,
- Plans to ensure safety and security of patrons, and protection of the community,
- Diversion Prevention plans, and
- Plans to make cannabis available to low-income registered qualified patients.
Secondly, and equally important, your business plan should demonstrate how your business will add to the social and economic equity program initiatives in the Virgin Islands. Therefore, as with all in life, choose wisely the central figures that you will bring to your team for your USVI cannabis manufacturing venture.
Step 6: Build a team for your USVI cannabis manufacturing activities
With our team talent acquisition services, you will be pleased with how we can help you put together the ideal team for the approval of your manufacturing license. Reach out today for more information about our personalized business application and consulting services.
Finally, building a great team makes raising capital easier. You’re ready for the next step!
Step 7: Raise Capital
First of all, it’s essential to plan carefully and secure the required application fees in advance. You may see this fee as minuscule for upfront costs to start a manufacturing business in the USVI, but the application fee is just a tip of the iceberg. OCR requires that you provide evidence of adequate capital and liquidity.
Additionally, you should factor in equipment costs, facility costs such as leases and renovations, lighting, security, labor costs, packaging and labeling and many more costs to a new marijuana business. We can help you plan, itemize and strategize for all your start-up costs.
Secondly, if you don’t already have the capital necessary for a successful cannabis business, we’ll help you pitch your business to cannabis industry investors. A solid business plan and impeccable team members can only but help you gain access to capital.
Thirdly, our US Virgin Islands manufacturing license consultants will ensure that your business entity and its funding are compliant. We can help you raise capital and ensure that any minority or majority owners, permitted interest holders, reasonable royalty holders, and financial interest holders are allowable per the Act’s requirements.
Finally, it is crucial that your manufacturing business promotes a prosperous future for the residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands. This is key to the Act’s push for legal grow opportunities on the islands for its citizens. Next, we’ll discuss the importance of your facility location on the islands.
Step 8: Choose a location for your USVI cannabis manufacturing facility
Remember that due to the limited land space in these clustered islands, the OCR will award merit-based USVI marijuana manufacturing licenses only to those businesses with the highest application score on the specific island for which the manufacturing license is being sought.
The OCR will cap the number of licenses available for each of the main islands, but has not yet announced the limits for manufacturing licenses. If you are approved for a license, you may not change your location to a different island within the Virgin Islands or to any location outside the Territory.
Therefore, choose your facility location wisely. Also, be aware that a cannabis manufacturing licensed premise:
- May not be located less than 250 feet from a school or house of worship on the date the licensee filed its application for licensure or change of location to its current address, and
- Cannot be located less than 250 feet of the perimeter of any cruise ship-bearing dock or pier in the Territory.
Also of interest to prospective USVI cannabis manufacturing license applicants: Charlotte Amalie, Christiansted, and Frederiksted Historic Districts and the town of Cruz Bay may impose additional requirements such as security, odor control, and community engagement. However, within these districts, distance requirements can be waived or reduced by the OCR. Still, keep in mind that the historic districts issue additional restrictions and guidance regarding signage and fencing.
Our cannabis business consultants can help you find and nail down a manufacturing facility location on the island tailored to your manufacturing facility needs and within the appropriate zones for such activities.
Step 9: Garner Local Support for your Virgin Islands cannabis manufacturing license application
Once you’ve identified property and your location, you can begin building support from local organizations. The US Virgin Islands have no local municipality governorship; its government operates for the territory as a whole.
Strong local support will help you score higher on your merit-based cannabis manufacturing application. Also, among other requirements, your application will need to demonstrate:
- Proposed community engagement and cooperation plans including evidence of support from community members, and
- Evidence of charitable contributions and/or scholarships.
In addition, our US Virgin Islands cannabis consultants can help you build relationships with local businesses, state and community non-profits. Show how your cannabis business will support existing civil efforts and positively impact your community. Show how you will be a good neighbor.
Now, onto the most important step to win a cannabis business license in the USVI!
Step 10: Write and submit your application for a US Virgin Islands cannabis manufacturing license
Firstly, OCR will award merit-based cannabis manufacturing licenses only to those applicants with the highest application scores for the specific island’s limited number of licenses.
It will not be an easy task to win a USVI manufacturing license; the application process will be highly competitive! The OCR will score your marijuana manufacturing application based on several US Virgin Islands cannabis business license application requirements. In addition, the manufacturing license requires that you write several detailed plans for processing operations which must include:
- facility requirements,
- solvent purity,
- potency limits, and
- packaging and labeling requirements.
Finally, the ultimate task of writing a successful application involves hours of technical writing, research, community outreach and collaborative planning. Let us help you produce the most highly competitive submission for a manufacturing license. We’ll make the paperwork and application process more simple, so that your time is well spent and rewarding.
In conclusion, our experienced cannabis licensing team has years of experience winning marijuana licenses in over 27 states and across the globe in 6 countries. We can help you write and assemble your entire application, saving you time and money.
Schedule a call with our U.S. Virgin Islands cannabis consultants today to learn more about how we can help you start your cannabis manufacturing business in the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as how to integrate your operations with a cultivation license if you win one of those as well. With us by your side, you can significantly improve your odds of winning a USVI manufacturing license.
Additional information related to US Virgin Islands cannabis manufacturing licenses
Authorized Conduct for a US Virgin Islands cannabis manufacturing license
A cannabis manufacturing licensee may purchase cannabis from the following cannabis entities within the Territory:
- Cultivation Licensees,
- Dispensary Licensees,
- Research and Development Licensees, and/or
- Micro-Cultivation Permittees
A manufacturing licensee is authorized to conduct the following activities:
- internally test, package, and label cannabis items; and
- store, sell, purchase, transfer, and transport cannabis items to and from other cannabis licensees.
Manufacturers are required to source no less than 70% of their cannabis used for processing and distribution from Unaffiliated Third Parties. However, the OCR may suspend or amend this sourcing requirement if it find there will be insufficient or inferior production to meet this percentage requirement.
A licensee shall not make any change in ownership, whether adding or removing owners or adjusting equity amongst owners, without prior approval from the OCR.
Additionally, change in majority ownership of any cannabis manufacturing license shall be prohibited for one (1) year after the date the license is issued unless the licensee can demonstrate that a transfer of ownership is made necessary by death or disability of the licensee, substantial financial hardship, or other reasons as determined by the OCR in accordance with criteria established in regulations.
A cannabis manufacturer licensee may not make any changes to its ownership without approval from the OCR. In addition, a license is not transferable unless the licensee formally applies for a Change of Ownership, which the OCR reserves the right to approve or deny by considering the requirements of the Code and any of its promulgated rules.
No application for transfer of ownership or change in the business structure of any dispensary license shall be approved by the OCR until all taxes, sales taxes, any fines, penalties, and interest assessed against or imposed upon such licensee in relation to the licensed business are paid in full.
Links to useful resources:
- Government of US Virgin Islands Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs Business Licenses
- “The Virgin Islands Cannabis Use Act” Act 8680 (final, January 18, 2023)
- Bill No. 34-0345 (draft, November 14, 2022)