Medical cannabis is officially available for sale in Puerto Rico after two dispensaries opened on Friday, nearly two years after island lawmakers adopted regulations for the industry, the Associated Press reports. Those two dispensaries, however, are the only ones currently operating in the U.S. territory and serve about 2,000 registered patients.
The law, enacted in 2015 via executive order by outgoing Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla, allows for medical cannabis to be used in pills, creams, oral drops, inhalers, vaporizers, and patches. Patients suffering from chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and multiple sclerosis are eligible for the program. Padilla moved to implement the law using the executive order because the legislation had stalled in the Puerto Rico House of Representatives for two years.
According to a Costa Rica Star report, 23 companies have been approved to cultivate, process, transport and sell cannabis. Carmen Serrano, managing partner for NextGen Pharma, who opened a dispensary in San Juan, called the rollout of the industry “a historic day for Puerto Rico.”
“Today sees the fulfillment of a promise in favor of the right of thousands of patients in Puerto Rico to a better quality of life,” he said in the Star report.
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