Is Weed Legal in Puerto Rico?
Puerto Rico has legalized medical cannabis use, but adult-use cannabis remains illegal.
Popular Democratic Party Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla signed in 2015 Executive Order OE-2015-035, ordering the Secretary of Health to authorize some or all components of the marijuana plant for medicinal use for patients residing in the United States territory.
Administrative Order No. 352, issued by Secretary of Health Dr. Ana Ruiz, further soldified medical marijuana legalization, setting up initial directives for the possession, cultivation, manufacturing, production, fabrication, dispensing, distributing, and research of medical cannabis.
In July 2017, Act 42-2017, The Medicinal Act, was signed by Padilla solidifying the current marijuana laws in Puerto Rico.
to Be to Consume?
The Department of Health (Departamento de Salud) is responsible for regulating Puerto Rico’s medical marijuana program.
Smoking cannabis remains illegal on the island, and the Cannabis Medicinal FAQ page covers questions marijuana businesses, patients, doctors, and occupational licensees may need to address throughout the process.
Patient Registry, Consumption, and Possession
Puerto Ricans looking to access medical marijuana must go through an application process that requires a $100 to $150 fee. The steps are:
- Obtain a medical recommendation from an authorized doctor, which will be sent through the registration platform.
- Open an account.
- Create a request and locate your doctor’s medical recommendation.
Once completed, patients are entered into a database with the Department of Health and are only permitted to purchase from their nearest storefront dispensary.
Regulation 8766 governs consumption location, which is limited to private homes or private places where owners authorize the consumption of medical cannabis. According to marijuana laws in Puerto Rico, smoking weed is illegal, but the following forms of consumption are allowed:
- Oral drops
- Oral inhalers
- Topical ointments and creams
- Transdermal patches
- Vaporization of cannabis flower or concentrate
- Any other means that the Department of Health authorizes
Qualifying Conditions and Authorized Medical Providers
A full list of qualifying conditions to legally purchase cannabis in Puerto Rico can be found on the Department of Health’s main registration page.
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Anxiety disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Cancer and chemotherapy treatment for cancer
- Degenerative diseases including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease; or multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Hepatitis C
- Incurable and advanced diseases requiring palliative care
- Intestinal inflammatory disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Peripheral neuropathies
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Spinal cord injury
- Another condition that causes cachexia, or wasting disease; chronic pain; severe nausea; or persistent muscle spasms
The Health Department maintains a directory of medical providers who are authorized to recommend cannabis in Puerto Rico for medicinal purposes. More than 92,000 patients have registered as of July 2, 2019.
Licenses for various types of medical cannabis businesses, including dispensaries, distributors, and manufacturers, are available on the Health Department’s Cannabis Medicinal site.
Occupational licenses are necessary for employees or owners to participate in a dispensary business.
Applicants must submit background checks and criminal history disclosures if pursuing certain types of licenses to work for the cannabis industry in Puerto Rico.
The Medical Act, Act 42-2017, permits dispensaries to serve patients with medical cards from their home state.
This page was last updated on August 7, 2019.