The U.S. territory of Puerto Rico has joined in the steady turning tide of cannabis legalization with Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla signing an executive order to authorize the use of medical marijuana there. The order went into effect immediately.
“We’re taking a significant step in the area of health that is fundamental to our development and quality of life,” Gov. Padilla said in a statement.
Padilla commented further saying, in a Huffington Post article, that “the government also will soon outline the specific authorized uses of marijuana and its derivatives for medical purposes. He noted that medical marijuana is used in the U.S. mainland and elsewhere to treat pain associated with migraines and illnesses including epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and AIDS.”
Cannabis for medical use is currently legal in 23 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, and a group of U.S. legislators is also presently looking to remove federal prohibitions on the plant. Meanwhile in places like Guam and Jamaica, legislators are busy at work passing new laws to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis, opening discussions in those regions for lifting medical marijuana prohibition.
Padilla cited U.S. studies that found cannabis can be used as a palliative for many medical ailments, including glaucoma, migraines, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases where traditional treatments fail to provide relief.
Though some members of Puerto Rico’s legislature were not pleased with the order, the governor is full steam ahead, mandating that Puerto Rico’s health secretary has three months to issue a report detailing how the executive order will be carried out, the impact it will have and what future steps should be taken. Also necessary are guidelines governing how cannabis should be dispensed, who will have the right to cultivate and what diagnoses will be required for treatment.
Says Padilla, “I am sure that many patients will receive appropriate treatment that will offer them new hope.”