In 2015, Puerto Rico decided to join the group of many other U.S. states that have legalized marijuana. Then, the following year, Puerto Rico revised some of its criteria with Regulation 8766, which updated and also clarified some of the guidelines for patients who want to receive cannabis medications. The Medical Cannabis Act has established The Medicinal Cannabis Regulatory Board (MCRB), a branch of Puerto Rico’s Department of Health. This particular branch oversees the use, cultivation, production, and distribution of medical marijuana.
Here’s what Regulation 8766 is all about.
The Puerto Rican government recognizes and understands the medical benefits of cannabis; however, the recreational use is still illegal. It is considered a schedule one drug by the government, and anyone who is found with it is subject to a felony possession charge. No matter how much a person is carrying, the penalty could include a $5,000 fine and two to ten years in prison. This law also includes and marijuana paraphernalia.
By obtaining a medical marijuana card, a patient can legally purchase marijuana products at a medicinal cannabis establishment. These establishments are where the marijuana is produced and sold. The products that are sold there must adhere to high purity standards to ensure their safety as well as effectiveness. Once at the establishment, a patient may purchase up to a thirty-day supply, and as long as they carry no more than this amount and follow all government regulations, they’re free from criminal liability.
In order to apply for a medical marijuana card, a patient must first have a qualified medical condition. Puerto Rico has included several disorders and symptoms, including cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and ALS, among many more. The steps required to qualify and receive your medical card are very similar to those in many U.S. states:
- Make an appointment with a physician registered to a recommend cannabis with the MCRB.
- The doctor must confirm the patient’s diagnosis and fill out a recommendation form.
- The patient then fills out an application and all forms found on the MCRB website.
- They turn in their paperwork in-person to the MCRB, along with proper identification and an application fee.
- Once approved, they must then return to the MCRB to pick up their card and choose a medicinal cannabis establishment to access their medications form.
Once a patient has a medical marijuana card, they purchase marijuana products from their nearest dispensary. In order to keep their card, a patient may have to re-certify their status. This process includes going to a physician and receiving a recommendation that confirms they still have a qualifying medical condition. Then they must submit their renewal application in-person to the MCRB at least thirty days before their card expires. If a patient is late in bringing their renewal application, there may be a segment of time during which they are unable to access a medical cannabis establishment.