The Cannabis Watcher
Sign InSubscribe

Puerto Rico Considers Marijuana Legalization

Share this article

A look into the current status and potential future of weed in Puerto Rico.

a group of people gathered in a protest, holding signs advocating for the legalization of marijuana in puerto rico.

Industry SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The U.S. Virgin Islands has authorized the recreational and sacramental use of marijuana for anyone 21 and over, becoming the third U.S. territory to do so. In light of this recent development, many are wondering if Puerto Rico will follow suit and legalize cannabis for adult use. Currently, medical marijuana is legal in the U.S. territory, but recreational use remains illegal. However, there have been recent developments that suggest a change in policy may be on the horizon.

A Puerto Rico senator has followed President Biden's lead by filing a bill that would expunge convictions for simple cannabis possession. The senator is motivated by the belief that those convicted of low-level marijuana offenses should not continue to suffer the consequences of their actions, especially when it is becoming increasingly clear that marijuana is not as harmful as previously believed.

As President Joe Biden announced he would pardon all prior federal offenses of marijuana possession, state and territory marijuana policies have come under renewed scrutiny. Currently, 15 states and the District of Columbia have legalize marijuana for adult recreational use, while 36 states have legalize it for medical use. Puerto Rico's current policy falls into the latter category.

Puerto Rico's disability discrimination statute (Law 44-1985), the local counterpart of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has been instrumental in ensuring that medical marijuana patients are not discriminated against in the workplace. Under the law, employers cannot discriminate against employees or job applicants who use medical marijuana, as long as they have a valid prescription and are using it for a legitimate medical purpose.

Looking at how each state stands on marijuana use after President Biden's announcement that he would pardon those federally convicted of marijuana possession, it is clear that there is a growing trend towards legal. Puerto Rico, as a U.S. territory, is in a unique position to benefit from this trend. legal marijuana for adult use could bring in significant revenue and help to shore up the territory's struggling economy.

Three Connecticut residents, two with licenses to grow and sell cannabis in the state, are also launching cannabis businesses in Puerto Rico. They see the territory as a prime location for cultivating marijuana due to its tropical climate and proximity to the mainland U.S. If Puerto Rico were to legalize marijuana for adult use, it could attract even more investment and create new opportunities for entrepreneurs.

A senator in Puerto Rico has filed a bill to remove penalties for low-level marijuana possession in the U.S. territory, motivated by the belief that such penalties are disproportionately affecting young people and people of color. The senator has pointed out that the use of marijuana is prevalent in Puerto Rico, but that current policies are causing unnecessary harm to individuals and families.

The legal of cannabis for adult use in Puerto Rico would result in $679 million in sales that could potentially shore up $97 million in tax revenue, according to a report from Marijuana Business Daily. This revenue could be used to fund a variety of projects and programs, including education, healthcare, and infrastructure.

In conclusion, while Puerto Rico has not yet legalize marijuana for adult use, there are signs that this may change in the near future. Recent developments, including the filing of bills to expunge convictions for marijuana possession and remove penalties for low-level possession, suggest that the tide is turning in favor of legal. If this were to happen, it could bring significant benefit to the territory, including increased revenue and new opportunities for entrepreneurs.

puerto ricomarijuanalegalizationmedical userecreational useexpungementrevenueinvestmentdiscriminationpenalties
Share this article