Puerto Rico’s recreational cannabis market could be worth $500 million, new trade report says
Report Projects Puerto Rican Recreational Cannabis Market Worth Over $500 Million
A Puerto Rican cannabis trade group is hoping to make headway in talks for complete recreational marijuana reform on the island. You recently published a report on this. The report predicts how legalization of recreational marijuana could benefit the U.S. territory, located southeast of Cuba. Based on the analysis, or would take up to five years for the industry to develop here, following the same path as the casino industry that grew in importance in this region in the early decades of the 20th century.
This type of economic development is also being considered by other jurisdictions and not only on the island, especially after the pandemic. It’s not the only popular destination for tourists either. However, this part of the economy is vital to the island’s economy and has been increasing steadily in the second decade of this century. It currently accounts for 10 percent of the entire economy. In fact, prior to the pandemic, much of the vital infrastructure was damaged by Hurricane Maria and the island was rebuilt using tourism.
In addition, the island is well-versed in the manufacture of various leisure items, such as; B., but not limited to, the largest rum distillery in the world, the Bacardi factory in Cataño. Also, it is increasingly a haven for crypto firms. Due to former President Donald Trump, 98 percent of the land on the island is currently considered an opportunity zone created specifically to attract foreign investors.
CANNABIS REFORM IN PUERTO RICO
Marijuana has been an illegal substance in Puerto Rico since 1932 when Law 12 prohibited the very same thing. Penalties for importing, planting, selling, and buying the plant ranged from a month to a year in prison.
Rep. José Luis Báez supported decriminalization in 2013, immediately after winning two US state referenda, one in Colorado and one in Washington state. Two years later, the medical cannabis reform was enacted by Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla.
This reform stipulates that patients will receive a 30-day supply of the drug, but in a form that cannot be smoked. Growing it at home is still illegal, and patients must purchase their medication from state-authorized pharmacies. The number of patients in Puerto Rico is estimated at 115,000.
HOW CANNABIS CAN HELP PUERTO RICO RECOVERY
The acceptance of the financial commitments restructuring is undoubtedly a crucial step for Puerto Rico as it seeks to regain access to capital markets and instill renewed confidence in the island’s economy. The development process doesn’t just happen. Puerto Rico must develop financial strategies that consider its own realities as well as those of the US and other markets. From that perspective, investing heavily in marijuana makes perfect sense, especially given the upcoming federal liberalization that’s expected.
OPPORTUNITIES IN MARIJUANA FOR PUERTO RICO’S AGRICULTURAL SECTOR
The Puerto Rico Department of Agriculture stated that because of the island’s favorable geographic location in a tropical area, cannabis could be grown and harvested about three times a year in Puerto Rico, in contrast to the world’s largest producers, who can currently only grow and harvest one – up to twice a year outdoors.
A great cannabis cultivation promotion program would not only allow Puerto Rico to make the most of its geographic location, but it would also create opportunities in the island’s backwoods where it is likely needed most. Per capita income in the island’s wealthiest (and most communal) city is four times higher than in the poorest (rural) areas.
With perfect environmental conditions to support cultivation, the Puerto Rico cannabis market could be mostly self-sufficient in terms of essential materials. At the same time, surplus cannabis can be exported, not just to the United States market, where Puerto Rican goods have unrestricted access.
THE LEGAL STATUS OF THE ISLAND
Today, Puerto Rico is an unincorporated US territory. Not a US state, but a territory. Another point of contention is how US federal law is understood in this situation. The island, along with the Philippines and Guam, are places where the civil liberties enjoyed within the continental U.S. and incorporated territories do not apply, according to what some consider highly racist rulings contained in the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence Court of Justice and have been handed down in the early part of the last century. Based on these lawful precedents, only the “fundamental restrictions” of the U.S. Constitution apply with respect to unincorporated territories, the District of Columbia, and the United States itself.
This means that marijuana is definitely in a very peculiar gray area when it comes to things like states’ constitutional rights (see earliest state-level cannabis reform as constitutional change at that level).
REPRESENTING LOCAL PEOPLE?
One of the devastating effects of the recent hurricane was that many people were forced to sell their homes for various reasons. Because of this, investment banks have acquired huge plots of damaged real estate here in recent years, making it difficult for residents to afford life here. This also results in local protests against foreign development, particularly the privatization of public resources such as beaches.
In such an environment, growth in the cannabis sector could be beneficial to international companies. Another consideration is how this would affect the sustainable economic development of the neighborhood.
With the revenues that cannabis can and is already generating for some nations, it is entirely conceivable that marijuana could represent a way forward for Puerto Rico as they already appear to be taking advantage of the favorable weather that has seen harvests grow up to three times can take place a year.
The slow pace at which legalization of cannabis has progressed is puzzling given the economic activity that a marijuana surge would ignite in Puerto Rico. It’s inexcusable to keep the door shut on a busy cannabis market on an island where residents are in dire need of financial opportunities.
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