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Tue Jun 16, 2020, 05:18 AM

Marijuana Legalization as Savior of G.E.R.S. Thrown in Doubt at Hearing

Governor Albert Bryan has sold the legalization of marijuana for restricted recreational use for tourists visiting the territory as one of his main efforts to undergird the near-insolvent Government Employees' Retirement System. He has repeatedly criticized senators for moving slow on passing amendments he proposed to the V.I. Medical Cannabis Patient Care Act that would allow for recreational and sacramental use of the drug, and has suggested that if the amended measure does not pass, the death of G.E.R.S. would be on senators' hands.

But during a Committee of the Whole hearing on Friday, where the amended bill received a cool reception from senators, many skeptical about its language, G.E.R.S.'s representative cast doubt on the prospect of funds generated by the legalization of marijuana being even remotely sufficient to save the beleaguered system.

At most it would provide $15 million or less at its peak annually for G.E.R.S., and the pension system needs $150 million annually to survive, said G.E.R.S.'s representative speaking during testimony Friday. He told senators, "It's a step in the right direction. It's 10 percent of the problem but we need a lot more than that."

G.E.R.S. said recently if it does not receive $195 million immediately it would be forced to cut retirees' annuities by 42 percent in January 2021.

Read more: https://viconsortium.com/vi-health/virgin-islands-marijuana-legalization-as-savior-of-g-e-r-s-thrown-in-doubt-at-hearing

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