House to investigate medicinal cannabis ruling
SAN JUAN – The House of Representatives approved Monday to investigate the legality behind the Health Department’s ruling that regulates the industry of medicinal cannabis, established via executive order by then-Gov. Alejandro García Padilla.
New Progressive Party (NPP) Rep. María Milagros Charbonier defended House Resolution 65, which she authored, by stating that during the past administration the executive branch “usurped the Legislative Assembly’s powers” by making way for Ruling 155 for the use, possession, manufacture, production, dispensing, distribution and investigation of medicinal cannabis.
“At the time, we always stated that [García Padilla] usurped the Legislative Assembly’s faculties, and we warned we would take action. There is a ruling to regulate medicinal cannabis, but no law. We have some penalty classifications that seek to evade justice. The law establishes no ruling can have a penalty above $10,000, and failures in storage of medicinal cannabis entail a mere penalty,” Charbonier argued.
The representative said it is a matter of public health, which is why errors related to medicinal cannabis can’t be addressed with penalties.
Meanwhile, she assured that representatives of the medicinal cannabis industry are Popular Democratic Party (PDP) donors and accused them of “getting richer” at the expense of public health.
“I won’t receive anyone involved in the medicinal cannabis industry. We will decompose [the ruling], whether they like it or not, and we will begin the investigation and follow the money. This is muddy legal terrain. This isn’t a saintly veil. I will not sell health to anyone for money, and I will repeat it over and over,” Charbonier stressed.
The former president of the House Health Committee during the past administration, Lydia Méndez, co-authored the resolution.
“There is a lot of talk about medicinal cannabis, but little do we know whether it is being carried out as it should. The investigation should not involve political issues, but be something done responsibly,” Méndez said.
For his part, Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) Minority Leader Denis Márquez supported the resolution, because he has always opposed medicinal cannabis being ruled through executive order.
“If the investigation can bring legislation, it is time to regulate the medicinal cannabis industry. There must be legislation, but this can’t become a witch hunt,” warned Márquez.