Is recreational cannabis legal in Puerto Rico? Is medicinal marijuana legal in Puerto Rico? What about Puerto Rico's CBD laws? Find out about the weed laws in Puerto Rico in this article.
Approximately 1,000 miles Southeast of Florida lies the island of Puerto Rico. Officially a territory of the United States following a war with the Spanish in 1898, Puerto Ricans are US citizens and have the ability to move freely between the islands and the mainland.
However, despite being a territory of the US, Puerto Ricans aren't able to vote in presidential elections or for the Vice President and as such, Puerto Rican's are exempt from paying federal taxes. The status of politics in Puerto Rico is under constant debate so the voting status in the future may change. However, that doesn't discourage people from living there as the state boasts more than 270 miles of white sandy beaches, 28,000 acres of tropical forests and the largest rum distillery in the world.
This brings attention to the topic of cannabis in Puerto Rico. If it's not considered a state then do the same cannabis laws apply? Can you smoke a joint while viewing some of the world's most beautiful sites and beaches in the Caribbean Sea?
Read the article further to discover the laws surrounding cannabis in Puerto Rico.
Is recreational cannabis legal in Puerto Rico?
Unfortunately, cannabis is highly illegal in Puerto Rico. Any amount of possession is punishable by a felony charge, two to five years of incarceration, and a $500 fine. That's only for first-time offenders. Getting caught twice can increase those penalties by tenfold. Even possession of cannabis paraphernalia is a felony crime.
In 2013, Puerto Rican government representative, José Báez, attempted a proposal for decriminalization but was unsuccessful in doing so. Shortly after the proposal, a survey was conducted to convey the attitude towards decriminalization. Results indicated that approximately 20% were in favor and nearly 70% were opposed.
Although Puerto Rico hasn't officially decriminalized cannabis, the government has taken some initiative to lessen the punishments. An Executive Order in 2015 removed mandatory jail sentences for those caught with less than 6 grams. This may seem trivial but its a step in the right direction.
Puerto Rico's stance on cannabis is quite conservative, however, with constant changes to cannabis legislation in the US, laws are destined to change. Recently Puerto Rican politicians have begun changing their approaches towards cannabis.
Is medicinal marijuana legal in Puerto Rico?
Even though Puerto Rico's stance towards cannabis is strongly conservative, medical marijuana is legal. Marijuana for medical purposes has been legal in Puerto Rico since 2015.
In 2015, Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla signed a bill that permitted the use of medical marijuana. Subsequently, Secretary of Health Dr. Ana Ruiz issued administrative order No. 352, which put in place a comprehensive directive for possession, cultivation, manufacturing, dispensing, and distribution of medical cannabis.
In order for Puerto Ricans to acquire permission for medical marijuana, they must go through an application process and get approved by a physician. The underlying conditions that qualify a patient for medical marijuana include depression, epilepsy, fibromyalgia, HIV, Glaucoma, and all types of cancer. Additionally, any debilitating disease that causes severe pain is a qualifying condition.
Medical marijuana patients are permitted to purchase, possess, and use THC capsules, edibles, tinctures, oils, and vaporizers. Smoking marijuana is fully prohibited. Anyone who is caught using marijuana in a combustible fashion is subject to a criminal charge.
As of 2019, approximately 93,000 patients have been registered under the medical marijuana program in Puerto Rico.
Is CBD legal in Puerto Rico?
For those who may be unaware or perhaps curious about CBD, it is a non-psychoactive component of cannabis and hemp. Vast amounts of research have indicated that CBD is quite beneficial for health purposes. The miracle cannabinoid compound has been found to relieve chronic pain, improve blood circulation, and reduce inflammation.
In 2018, the US enacted the Farm Bill which legalized industrial hemp on a federal level. As a result, hemp-derived CBD became legal in all states that followed the bill. In order for CBD to be legal, it must contain no more than 0.3% THC. CBD can also be extracted from cannabis, however, it contains much more THC.
Puerto Rico doesn't currently have any official laws regarding hemp-derived CBD, but since it was legalized federally Puerto Ricans do have access. As long as it complies with the laws outlined in the Farm Bill. CBD can be purchased in Puerto Rico from various head shops, food stores, and online.
Since the Farm Bill CBD is becoming more prominent than ever. CBD now comes in many forms which include drinks, edibles, topicals, and food. Even the major ice cream company, Ben and Jerry's, were considering making a CBD ice cream. The ice cream has yet to come to fruition.
Several influential celebrities are endeavoring into the CBD industry. This includes actress Kristen Bell, NFL star Rob Gronkowski, and Whoopi Goldberg. With these stars promoting CBD, the industry is destined to grow exponentially in the near future.
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