Puerto Rico is a territory owned by the United States. It’s been occupied for so long, that we acquired it before Oklahoma became a state. The massively dense island of about three and a half million residents gets a lot of their money from tourism. In 2013 roughly four million people visited. This place seems all fine and dandy, but Puerto Rico is facing a very serious economic crisis. They are about 70 billion dollars in debt, with seemingly no way to pay it. I know exactly what you’re thinking because of the context of this article. Mary Jane, weed, dope, 420, the pot industry as a whole, of course! Luckily, Puerto Rico thought this too. The bad side, is that it’s in shambles.
Medical cannabis is legal in Puerto Rico, but there are serious restrictions holding people back from just going to the store, coming home, and smoking a fat one to make the pain go away. Let’s take this step by step on how we’re going to hypothetically acquire some weed in Puerto Rico.
First, you need to be licensed and registered to be eligible to buy. You must go to your doctor and get a signed recommendation for medical marijuana. That’s not too different from other states. Then, you need to go to a lawyer who certifies the recommendation. Now we can begin getting our card. You have to go to the Department of Cannabis, a single building in San Juan where they review everything you’ve done so far. This Department have extremely limited resources, most likely one staff member, and a single machine for printing out license cards, like some twisted DMV from hell. 7,000 patients are waiting to get these cards, with only 4,000 currently registered.
Once you finally get your card, if you do, after paying anywhere up to a hundred and fifty dollars, the real fun begins. You must choose one single dispensary, a business that you give monopolistic power over you to. You can walk in with your card, take a browsing at what they have, and pick out what you like from their limited choices. Go to the cashier, and pay them your eighty dollars for a single eighth of weed. That’s almost as much as pharmaceuticals.
After two hundred dollars and possibly months of paperwork, you can finally sit back and light up, right? You’re wrong. You see, smoking marijuana, one of the best ways to get strong effects instantly. The problem is that’s illegal in Puerto Rico. You must use a different form. And once you do all of that, you can go back to your dispensary that is most likely on the brink of dying and is fighting numerous mold infestations, and get some more. There are people on the brink of death who need cannabis. There are people whose only wish is to numb their pain. People who need help. This system obviously needs a change.
Since Puerto Rico is not a state they do not have the same states’ rights, so it’s up to the federal government to fix their economic crisis and their pot crisis.