History of CBD and Cannabis: Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico has always held an interesting relationship to drug and substance manufacture, both in the legal pharmaceutical market and in the world of cannabis.
It’s estimated that over 30 percent of the territory’s economy is comprised of medicine production and trade. Whether it’s companies like Pfizer of Bristol-Meyers, more than half of the world’s twenty top selling drug companies are based in the territory.
Even more interestingly, officials are now pushing for legal medical marijuana trade between the territories and the United States. However, unlike pharmaceutical medications, marijuana trade is considered illegal between territories.
Cannabis, CBD, and Puerto Rico
Marijuana was first banned in Puerto Rico in 1932, following American fears that it caused violence, laziness, and insanity. At the time, the penalties for marijuana possession and distribution were set comparatively much lower than American states: a minimum of one month and absolute maximum of one year in prison.
Unlike the continental US, Puerto Rico had little cultural fear over the influence of marijuana at the time of the ban. Rather, it was national pressure that caused cannabis to be banned instead of any potential local forces.
Over time, territory policy towards marijuana got stricter and enforcement peaked during the War on Drugs era. Much of the territory’s enforcement attitudes were determined by the drug paranoia and heightened arrests within the United States.
Decades later, the doorway towards softening cannabis penalties, decriminalization, and legalization opened once again. In 2013, the first bid towards decriminalization occurred.
Representative Baez proposed a bill for decriminalization; however, polling indicated that only 26 percent of residents were in favor of reducing the penalties around cannabis possession. Years of cannabis restrictions had played into the predominantly Catholic traditions of Puerto Rican residents, creating a collectively conservative opinion towards drug use.
In fact, it was only after Governor Alejandro Padilla signed an executive order that medical cannabis was permitted in the territory.
By this point, it was clear to officials that medical marijuana held enormous economic and social potential. If Puerto Rico wants to dominate future international cannabis markets, it will have to start decreasing restrictions on cannabis manufacture, sale, and distribution to qualified patients.
Unlike other states with medical marijuana laws, the government has had a time-sensitive awareness of all the legal overhaul that needs to be done in Puerto Rico. Agricultural and health departments are teaming up in order to realize the territory-wide infrastructure to needs to be developed.