(SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico) — In a bold move, Puerto Rico’s governor signed an executive order to authorize the use of medical marijuana in the U.S. territory on Sunday.
Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla stated the health secretary has three months to issue a report detailing how the executive order will be implemented, it’s impacts, and what future steps can be taken.
At the time of signing, the order went into immediate effect.
“We’re taking a significant step in the area of health that is fundamental to our development and quality of life.”
Garcia said in a statement. He continued,
“I am sure that many patients will receive appropriate treatment that will offer them new hope.”
The executive order directs the health department to authorize the use of some or all controlled substances or derivatives of the cannabis plant for medicinal use.
Garcia elaborated on the plans for outlining specific authorized forms of consumption and approved diseases – noting the traditional conditions U.S. mainland states’ programs cover.
Jaime Perello, president of Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives, said he is in support of Garcia’s order.
“It’s a step in the right direction … One of the benefits that patients say they receive the most is pain relief.”
Opposition to the executive order is mostly coming from legislator Jenniffer Gonzalez – stating Garcia’s actions leave the law of controlled substances in “judicial limbo.”
Two years ago, Puerto Rico legislators debated a bill that would allow it’s citizens to possess and use cannabis for medicinal purposes, but a final vote was never taken.