Creation of 25,000 medical cannabis jobs projected in Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN – Some 250,000 patients in Puerto Rico could use cannabis to treat their medical conditions; however, only 10,000 are certified to legally acquire it at dispensaries around the island, Economic Development (DDEC by its Spanish initials) Secretary Manuel Laboy said Friday.
If the industry could get all potential patients certified for the use of medical cannabis, up to 25,000 “direct, indirect and induced” jobs could be created, Laboy added.
In a press conference to announce July’s unemployment rate drop, where little was said about a decline in the labor-force participation rate and net jobs, the DDEC secretary said medical cannabis is one of the industries the government is betting on to grow the private sector.
He said the goal for this year is to achieve the certification of at least 25,000 patients, which would boost the industry on the island.
The administration will also push a bill to establish the use of hemp, a variety of cannabis grown for the industrial uses of its derived products. Its fiber, for instance can be used to manufacture textile products and bioconstruction materials of high resistance, as well as having medicinal and cosmetic applications.
During the same press conference, the secretary of Public Affairs and Public Policy, Ramón Rosario, ruled out the possibility of the government introducing legislation to legalize the recreational use of the plant, despite it generating substantial revenue for states that allow it.
Currently, the medical cannabis industry in Puerto Rico has 10,211 certified patients, of which 9,705 already have their identification. In addition, there are 293 doctors certified to prescribe cannabis, 27 dispensaries, 11 farms, five manufacturers and 11 industry training providers.