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Puerto Rico Just Legalized Medical Marijuana

May 4, 2015

Shout the news from the rooftops: Puerto Rico just legalized medical marijuana, effective immediately! After a prolonged debate, Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla signed an executive order to authorize the use of medical marijuana in the U.S. territory, surprising everyone – even the advocates!

Governor Garcia-Padilla said in a statement to the press:

“We’re taking a significant step in the area of health that is crucial to our development and high expectations for their quality of life. I am sure that many patients with receive appropriate treatment that will offer them new hope.”

The executive order authorizes the Puerto Rican Health Department to allow the medical use of “some or all controlled substances or components of the cannabis plant.” It also requires that the island’s Secretary of Health, Ana Ruis, produce a report within three months outlining a plan for implementing a medical marijuana program, although the growth of cannabis for possible clinical trials has been in the talks for at least two months.

Some of the qualifying conditions that they will be considering include the following:

One of the major arguments in favor of medical legalization was the example of 23 different states that have now legalized medical marijuana, as well as the CARERS Act, which would remove the federal prohibition on cannabis. Additionally, Jamaica also recently passed a major decriminalization measure. The evidence and testimonies were overwhelmingly in favor of medical marijuana, particularly after an April 20th rally during which protesters marched to the capitol to demand decriminalization.

The topic was not without its vocal opponents, though. The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Jenniffer Gonzalez, raised concerns that these actions will leave the law in “judicial limbo,” warning that Puerto Rico may end up in a similar situation as the U.S., where state laws legalizing marijuana conflict with federal laws labeling cannabis a controlled, illegal substance.

However, the President of the Puerto Rican House of Representatives, Jaime Perello, voiced his support for the order, saying:

“The authorization of the medicinal use of controlled substances or components derived from the cannabis plant seems like a step in the right direction. It has been shown that the use of these substances or components in a controlled manner, can support traditional medical treatment of some chronic medical conditions, such as cancer and multiple sclerosis. One benefit most patients report is the relief of physical pain, which represents an improvement in their quality of life.”

This could be the start of a whole new era for Puerto Rico!

¡Buena suerte, Gobernador!

  • Insekti

    Dispensaries keep opening, altough they’re still very expensive.

    • DaMoose

      Where? In pr?

      • Insekti

        Yes, first one was at the end of december, last one opened today, it’s the fourth to open. I know more are opening in the coming weeks. It’s still incredibly expensive to be able to open a dispensary plus all the costs that come with it.

        • DaMoose

          I know! I was looking at the requirements and the assets needed to start up are ridiculous. I was looking into the growing markets too and they are only choosing a few specific farmers. They have to be grown indoors. What a shame in a place with such abundant sunlight. I understand the plants can’t be contaminated, but damn. Also read that only oils, pills, and lotions will be used, not the flower of the bud itself. Do you think they’ll ever go recreational? It would give the economy a much needed boost that it needs.

          • Insekti

            6 dispensaries have opened so far, not 4, my bad. This video helps understand the process a bit:

          • Originally, only pills, tinctures, and topicals were legal. According to this video it looks like they have expanded to include edibles and vapes, is that correct?

            I assume, since flower is illegal that you can only vape oil and not bud.

          • Insekti

            All of those were legal, the flower is legal, smoking is what’s illegal. With the new law though, flower will be sold to a more specific group of patients.

          • Thanks. I checked out some dispensary websites and see that they are definitely selling flower and concentrates.

            With the smoking ban, I wonder if they are not allowed to sell rolling papers or similar accessories, but encourage vaping of flower instead.

          • Insekti

            Yes, they encourage vaping. There are many stores in PR that sell rolling papers and many accesories so there’s absolutely no problem with that, for example Good Times, Smoke City, etc.

          • Insekti

            They sell the flowers, it’s “illegal” to smoke them but it’s something that doesn’t make sense and people don’t follow it. The thing is there’s a stigma here(compared to the states) about cannabis, we are an old society(the one in the Americas with most % of our population being 65+ years.) and they tend to be extremely conservative, incredibly cannabis is a taboo or seen as something “bad” to many. Having said that I think medical cannabis will be a hit and I’m thinking in about 8 to 10 years recreational will be legal.