Puerto Rico Economic Development Dept. promotes investment in medical cannabis market
SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico Economic Development Secretary Manuel Laboy announced Monday that the island was presented to some 14,000 “world leaders” of the medicinal cannabis market as an ideal investment destination.
The island’s pitch was given during the sixth annual Marijuana Business Conference & Expo, a major industry event, held this year in Las Vegas.
“The medical cannabis industry survived Hurricane María. This puts this industry in a privileged position, and at DDEC [Spanish acronym for the Economic Development & Commerce Department] we believe we had to let the world know. Therefore, through the Puerto Rico Medical Cannabis Association [PRMCA] we backed a commercial mission to present Puerto Rico as an investment destination and an ideal international market for medicinal cannabis,” Laboy said in a written statement.
“This effort also served to demonstrate to the pioneers and connoisseurs of this market, who gathered to discuss the latest trends in the industry, that Puerto Rico is up, strengthened and ready to develop this industry so it represents opportunities for the country’s economic growth, generates jobs and provides alternatives for medical treatment to so many patients who need relief from their chronic conditions,” the official added.
Laboy Rivera said that after Hurricane María, the cannabis market, like other industries, faced challenges to be able to conserve crops and continue distribution, as well as working on an ecosystem that involves manufacturing, cultivation, laboratories, dispensaries and education.
“It is extremely important and necessary to deliver the message that Puerto Rico has taken measures to protect the industry and is doing everything necessary to continue developing it at the highest level of quality and competitiveness,” the secretary said.
He added that, during the event, funds were also raised to subsidize the cost of medicine for patients registered in the Medical Cannabis Program in Puerto Rico and to have new patients join it free of cost.
The effort is supported by celebrities such as Montel Williams, a multiple sclerosis patient and Emmy-winning TV personality who, through his LenitivLabs, established a fundraising alliance with the PRMCA.
“We have the ecosystem ready to continue with the production of medicinal cannabis to supply local demand and forge alliances with international business people, which will result in new investments for Puerto Rico. This industry has many opportunities to continue growing, develop new businesses related to this activity and become a significant source of jobs for the country,” PRMCA President Ingrid Schmidt said.
According to PRMCA estimates, the cannabis industry in Puerto Rico has generated more than $35 million for the economy and more than 1,000 direct and indirect jobs in its short development period.
According to Health Department reports, there are about 12,000 PRMCA-registered patients, who are being treated for epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, anxiety disorder, fibromyalgia, arthritis and cancer, among other conditions.