As of 2015, medicinal cannabis has been legalized in Puerto Rico under the Medicinal Act. The following are some of the most important things related to the industry as published in “Medicinal Cannabis in Puerto Rico and Taxation” by BDO Puerto Rico on August 11, 2017.
The cannabis industry and its investors have been mobilizing the market since 2015. Nonetheless, it was not until 2017 with “Act to Manage the Study, Development and Research of Cannabis for Innovation, Applicable Norms and Limitations,” more commonly known and referred to as “Medicinal Act” or Act 42-2017, when the industry experienced its largest growth. The act was designed to serve as legal guidance for everything related to medicinal cannabis, including but not limited to, patients, taxations, and oversight of the industry (dispensaries, growing facilities, manufacturers and others).
Here are the most important things you need to know about the “law:
- The Medicinal Act establishes a Regulatory Board consisting of (9) members. Six of those members head the departments of health, agriculture, treasury, economic development/commerce, consumer affairs and the Superintendent of Puerto Rico Police. The remaining (3) are nominated by the Governor. The Regulatory Board will be responsible for withholding and implementing the law concerning everything related to the cannabis industry.
- Act 42-2017 states as illegal the act of smoking. Flowers are intended only for the use of vaporization.
- The Medicinal Act prohibits the importation or exportation of cannabis or cannabis derived products. Such products must be produced inland.
The law prohibits the consumption of cannabis in public areas. All consumption must take place in private residences.
- Dispensaries are not allowed to sell medicinal cannabis to anyone that does not have an official medical authorization card issued by a doctor stating the nature of the condition for which the patient requires medicinal cannabis.
- The flower or bud is only offered to patients who have had little success with other treatments. The use of flower must also be directly recommended by the doctor for dispensaries to dispatch them to their patients.
The Medicinal Act also includes a clause referring to tourism and tourist patients. The clause authorizes dispensaries to sell to tourists with their medicinal cannabis authorization card from their home states as long as it is not flower.
Although medicines in Puerto Rico are tax free, anything derived from medical cannabis will be taxed at 11.5% and accounted as personal property.