The governor of Puerto Rico has signed an executive order to allow marijuana to be permitted for medical uses. Alejandro Garcia Padilla endorsed the move, which will come into immediate effect, following a lengthy public debate on the US territory.
mentioned that Puerto Rico’s health secretary will have three
months to file a report about how the executive order will be
implemented. The order will also mean that some or all controlled
substances that derive from the cannabis plant will be permitted
for medical use.
“We’re taking a significant step in the area of health that
is fundamental to our development and quality of life,”
Garcia said in a statement, cited by AP. “I am sure that many
patients will receive appropriate treatment that will offer them
Medical marijuana can be used to treat a number of ailments, such
as helping to ease the pain associated with multiple sclerosis,
AIDS and cancer. Jamie Perello, the president of Puerto Rico’s
Chamber of Representatives mentioned the move was “a step in
the right direction,” and added “one of the benefits
that patients say they receive the most, is pain relief.”
It is not clear at present which type of illnesses will receive
authorization for medical marijuana. It is also unknown whether
the drug will have to be imported, or whether residents will be
allowed to grow it on the island.
“There are so many questions. We have to look at all those
details,” Amado Martinez, an activist who supports
legalizing marijuana told AP.
The possession of any amount of cannabis in Puerto Rico has
hitherto been illegal and punishable with up to five years in
prison and a fine of $5,000. Advocates of the reform argue that
the current policy has proved ineffective in the fight against
the illegal drug trade on the island.
Speaking in 2014, Perello said he became convinced of the drug’s
medicinal use after a number of public hearings and testimonies
“The work that has been done [and] the issue in public
hearings has convinced me that this is the right treatment for
some medical conditions and the controlled use of medical
marijuana can improve quality of life,” Perello told the
Puerto Rican publication, elnuevodia.com.
Last year, Colorado became the first US state to begin selling
marijuana for recreational use. Medical marijuana is permitted in
23 US States, while a group of lawmakers from the country are
looking to remove federal prohibitions.
In April 2014, Puerto Rico talked about legalizing marijuana and
prostitution, in an attempt to jumpstart its sagging economy,
which saw unemployment at 15 percent and a 45 percent of the
population living in poverty.
The island’s government was $70 billion in debt and the
legalizing of marijuana and prostitution were two of 156
proposals put forward for further discussion, initially pitched
by the public.