If you want to access medical cannabis in Puerto Rico, you have to get a medical marijuana card. Puerto Rico’s Regulation 8766 outlines the guidelines and steps that they must take to qualify. The criteria to be able to qualify for medical marijuana in Puerto Rico is very similar to the requirements in other countries and states in the United States. There are certain medical conditions that allow patients to pursue medical marijuana medications. One stipulation in order to qualify is that the patient must be at least 18 years or older. However, parents are permitted to obtain cannabis medication for their child as long as both parents approve of this form of treatment. In addition to residents of Puerto Rico, tourists are also permitted to use their own state’s medical marijuana card in reciprocity while in Puerto Rico. The qualifying conditions in order to pursue medical marijuana include the following:
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Spinal cord injuries
- Anxiety Disorders
- Crohn’s Disease
- Hepatitis C
It is also possible to have other conditions that have not responded to traditional treatments to be approved, but you must talk with your doctor to see if you qualify.
The medicinal Cannabis Regulatory Board (MCRB) is the branch of Puerto Rico’s Department of Health that oversees the medical marijuana program. It may take some time to complete the process of becoming a patient, which is why it is important to start the process as soon as possible. You can start the process by following the steps listed below:
- Meet with a physician registered with the MCRB to receive a cannabis recommendation.
- Fill out the applications and associated forms found on the MCRB website.
- Visit the Medicinal Cannabis Regulatory Board in person to submit the application and physician recommendation, show approved identification, and pay the application fee.
- If approved, come to the MCRB to obtain medical marijuana card.
- Choose one of the medicinal establishments to be the dispensary from which medications are obtained.
Patients may fill out additional paperwork in order to assign a caregiver to obtain their medical marijuana medications in their place. Tourists with a medical marijuana card from their state need to go to the Medicinal Cannabis Regulatory Board in person to pay the application fee so that they are allowed to use a Puerto Rican medicinal cannabis establishment.
In Puerto Rico, there area strict guidelines that must be followed in order for patients to access their medical marijuana products. Puerto Rican law prohibits personal cultivation, and the current regulation that is in place only allows patients to choose one medicinal cannabis establishment from which to obtain their medications. Many patients find this stipulation of the regulation to be inconvenient due to possible travel plans or other factors. There is speculation that the government may change this aspect of the regulation in the future. For the moment, though, patients can obtain a 30- day supply of medication when they visit their selected facility.
Due to the fact that marijuana is still considered a Schedule 1 drug, patients who are accessing cannabis must have their medical marijuana card on them at all times. There are very strict penalties for drug possession, which include a hefty fine and up to ten years in prison. Patients with a current medical marijuana card are free from prosecution and penalties that may come with someone without a card, as long as they follow the guidelines set forth by Regulation No. 8766. Even with the medical marijuana card, patients are advised to practice discretion. Marijuana medication should only be used while in a private home, not in public, and patients should never carry more than the specified amount.