Reps want Marijuana Regs Blocked, while Mayors offer Land to Grow It
SAN JUAN – New Progressive Party Reps. María Milagros Charbonier and House Alternate Minority Leader Carlos “Johnny” Méndez asked a court Monday to block the implementation of Health Department regulations on the use of medical marijuana.
The regulations that allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to patients with certain kinds of illnesses are slated to go into effect in just three days.
Several mayors, including the mayor of Peñuelas, Walter Torres, are offering public lands to grow cannabis, according to a radio report.
The regulations were drafted after Gov. Alejandro García Padilla issued an executive order. According to the NPP lawmakers, the governor abused his constitutional powers because the Legislature is the branch of government that passes laws.
“This regulation is a violation of the Puerto Rico Constitution. There is no law on the books authorizing the Health secretary, Dr. Ana Ríus, to enact a regulation on the ‘legalization’ of marijuana. There is only the rather dubious Declarative Order No. 32, of July 17, 2015…. The Legislature has not delegated that authority to the Department of Health, and therefore this regulation is an act of abuse of power by the executive branch,” Charbonier said in a press release.
Méndez Nuñez added that “this administration continues to rule by decree, disrespecting its own legislative majority and people of Puerto Rico who elected them. The main concern with this regulation, apart from the considerations of public health, is that it has no authority in law to be enacted,” he said.
The NPP legislators argued that the Health Department acted illegally because there is no authority in the law to create the regulations.
The governor, however, can approve certain laws through executive order, which in essence, give orders to the agencies.