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Puerto Rico governor favors use of cannabis flower on certain cases

By on June 23, 2017

SAN JUAN — Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced Thursday he found a “sensible” solution to the dispute over authorization of the medicinal use of the cannabis plant, which is only allowed for terminal patients or people who have received explicit recommendation that this product can treat their illness.

He made these statements after Sens. Miguel Pereira and José Vargas Vidot voiced their concerns about Senate Bill 340, which would establish the “Law to Improve the Study, Development & Investigation of Cannabis for Innovation, Applicable Norms & Limits.”

Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said medicinal cannabis should be made accessible to terminal patients and patients for whom it would be the best therapy for their illness. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

“The discussion has centered on extremes: Either we have it open for everyone [the medicinal use of cannabis], or we remove it altogether…. In some jurisdictions, they initially had it open to the market and now they have backed down,” the governor said.

In light of the dispute, which has New Progressive Party (NPP) legislators doubting whether to vote in favor or against the bill, Rosselló said he is considering “a sensible solution that I think brings together the concerns of all patients.”

“If we want to comply with the goal to provide better therapy to patients, then there has to be that opening [to allow the use of the cannabis plant], and the two I have identified are for terminal patients and patients for whom [medicinal cannabis] has been identified as the best available therapy for their illness,” the governor said during a press conference, after announcing a collaborative agreement between the Puerto Rico government and Airbnb.

While approving the bill, the claims from Popular Democratic Party Sen. Pereira and independent Sen. Vargas Vidot centered on the importance of considering patients’ needs.

Their concerns were not only related to allowing the use of cannabis as a medical treatment, but also to eventually legalizing the self-cultivation of the plant to prevent the industry from being monopolized, and improving the dispensing of medicinal marijuana and eliminating the intervention of a doctor as a mediator in the doctor-patient relationship.

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