What’s next for Puerto Rico’s booming medicinal cannabis industry?
Puerto Rico’s first medicinal cannabis dispensary opened just three years ago. The industry has already grown into a huge operation that does around $4 million is sales every month! Cannabis medicinal in Puerto Rico has definitely made a mark.
Dispensaries have reported a total of almost $128 million in sales to the government. These businesses also play $13.9 million in sales and use tax. Tax revenue this year has grown by 127.5% so far.
How many medical cannabis dispensaries are in Puerto Rico?
According to the Medicinal Cannabis Office, there are 101 dispensaries in Puerto Rico. They serve 112,363 registered cannabis patients. The majority of these patients are located in the northeast region of the island. To learn more about how you can register as a medical marijuana patient in Puerto Rico, click here.
Goodwin Aldarondo, President of Puerto Rico Legal Marijuana, says that they are adding around 10,000 patients each month.
Top dispensaries who have been in business for a while are bringing in between $100,000 to $300,000 in sales each month. They are employing many Puerto Rican residents, as each dispensary needs between 5-8 employees. The industry as a whole has offered thousands of jobs.
PR’s Cannabis Industry is On Par with the U.S.
The United States also has a flourishing legal cannabis industry. There are laws in place for medical marijuana in 33 states. In 11 other states, marijuana is also legal for recreational use.
Teresita Santiago Lebrón, president of the Chamber of Commerce Cannabis and Hemp Committee, said the industry in PR is comparable to similar ones in the states.
Medical cannabis sales in the U.S. are projected to increase by 1.8%. This means a jump from $5.1 billion (2017) to $12.5 billion (2025).
How did the industry become so successful in PR?
Santiago, who is also the founder and CEO of El Morro Technologies, believes that Puerto Rico had an advantage in the industry.
“Puerto Rico had a robust manufacturing and pharma industry,” said Santiago. “Having all these professionals and that structure helped us establish the program.”
The medical cannabis industry has been and will continue to be a huge benefit to Puerto Rico. It is a great source of revenue for the government, which has had recent financial struggles.
The industry is booming, but it’s had some hurdles. Puerto Rico is still working to get banks involved in the business. Most banks are concerned about governmental interference. The U.S. has begun to remedy this issue with their Safe Banking Bill. The House passed the bill, but it awaits debate in the Senate.
One credit union, Tu Coop, does offer some banking support for dispensaries in Puerto Rico. But other than that, businesses essentially run their shops as “cash only.”