Puerto Rico Medicinal Cannabis Assoc. working with gov’t to explore hemp’s potential
SAN JUAN – The Puerto Rico Medicinal Cannabis Association (PRMCA) expressed support Friday for the government’s intentions to boost the hemp industry, which utilizes the fiber of the plant for several applications such as textile, food and bodycare products as well as building materials.
The association is urging the island’s legislature to approve House Bill 1071, which would create the “Cultivation, Research and Commercial Development of Industrial Hemp Act.”
“As an emerging industry, industrial hemp would insert the island into commercial and high-value manufacturing activities, while opening the door to developing research on new uses of the product,” Ingrid Schmidt, president of the PRMCA, said in a written statement.
Schmidt said a Hemp Chapter has been created within the organization to meet the needs of the initiative, and that, the association is working with the Economic Development and Commerce Department (DDEC by its Spanish initials) to push approval of legislation and create the environment necessary to promote private investment in the industry.
“I understand that as part of the measures that are being taken to address the emergency, the Legislature will resume the evaluation and subsequent approval of this law that is so necessary to take the steps necessary to having hemp produce for Puerto Rico. We have a very good chance that this industry will become a job generator and an economic help for the island. This initiative is part of the government plan presented by Governor Ricardo Rosselló to promote the economic development of Puerto Rico,” DDEC Secretary Manuel Laboy said.
“We are ready to work to make this industry competitive in Puerto Rico, attract investment capital and guarantee the participation of small and midsize businesses. Puerto Rico has the ideal characteristics to be a pioneer in this industry, export and become the spearhead of this economic sector in the Caribbean region and the Americas, which would increase agricultural and manufacturing economic activity,” added Laboy, who is also executive director of the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Co.
DDEC and the PRMCA will hold a forum with experts on the topic of industrial hemp to discuss the industry’s growth potential on the island with entrepreneurs and investors.
Among hemp’s other uses are the manufacture of paper, rope and raw material for automotive components. It is also the main source of cannabidiol (CBD), which is used to treat multiple health conditions.