Puerto Rico betting on medical marijuana to help ease crisis
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico is joining more than two dozen U.S. states in pinning a little of its future on medical marijuana.
The territory legalized medical marijuana by decree nearly two years ago and new Gov. Ricardo Rossello has signed a measure setting out a legal framework for the industry. Backers say that will spark an expansion of the pot fields, manufacturing centers and dispensaries popping up across the island.
Already nearly 9,000 Puerto Ricans have paid $25 a year for a permit to use medical marijuana to treat at least 14 pre-approved conditions including HIV, cancer, multiple sclerosis, migraines, anxiety and epilepsy.
The island’s treasury secretary says the industry could generate up to $100 million a year, a rare bright spot for an island suffering a grinding economic crisis.