Despite having a medical cannabis program, Puerto Rico strictly prohibits the use of marijuana if it is not sanctioned by a medical professional. Possession is a felony. For first-time offenders, the penalties are 2-5 years of incarceration and fines of up to $5,000. The penalties for subsequent offenses are 4-10 years of incarceration and fines of up to $5,000. Cultivating marijuana is also a felony. Penalties for cultivating any amount are severe: 12 years in prison and a maximum fine of $20,000. Aggravating circumstances may make the penalties even more serious.
Patients who have been recommended cannabis to treat a qualifying condition can purchase up to a 30-day supply, but dispensaries only carry extracts, as the use of herbal cannabis is prohibited. Only medical professionals licensed to practice medicine and to prescribe controlled Class II drugs in Puerto Rico may recommend cannabis to patients. They may recommend it for the following conditions:
• ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)
• Alzheimer’s disease
• Crohn’s disease
• Hepatitis C
• Multiple sclerosis
• Parkinson’s disease
• PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
• Severe pain
• Spinal cord injury
Additionally, qualifying practitioners must complete an eight-hour certified training course created by the Department of Health on Medical Cannabis. To register for this course, see the DHMC website: http://www.salud.gov.pr/Dept-de-Salud/Pages/Cannabis-Medicinal.aspx.
Puerto Rico does not have a reciprocity program to accommodate medical marijuana patients from other jurisdictions.