Guide to Obtaining a Puerto Rico Med Card and How to Use It

Mary Ekundayo

Posted by Mary Ekundayo on 03/07/2024 in Cannabis Laws

guide to getting a puerto rico mmj card

For a long time, cannabis has been labeled as an evil drug. Thankfully, this narrative is gradually changing–particularly in places like the United States, although weed is still classified as a Schedule I drug under federal laws. Nonetheless, as of 2024, marijuana is legal in 38 states for medical use and in 24 states for recreational use.

Apart from the U.S., territories like Puerto Rico have had relaxed medical cannabis laws since 2015. If you are a Puerto Rican looking to obtain your medical marijuana card, this guide will show you exactly how it’s done. Let’s dive right in!

The Marijuana Legalization Story In Puerto Rico

In 2013, the possession, distribution, and cultivation of weed was completely illegal in Puerto Rico. The legalization of the plant started in 2015 when Alejandro J. García Padilla, the then-governor of the territory, signed an Executive Order that allowed medical cannabis.

According to the enactment, only Puerto Ricans with severe medical issues like cancer and HIV/AIDS could access the drug to treat their conditions. For now, the recreational use of marijuana remains a criminal offense. In fact, you are liable for a 5 to 20-year sentence and a state-imposed fine of $5,000 to $20,000 for the illegal possession of weed.

Later, in 2017, Alejandro Padilla passed “The Medicinal Act,” which created a legal framework for the use of cannabis. It included laws to protect marijuana patients as well as regulations that would govern how dispensaries would operate.  

What You Need To Apply For An MMJ Card

You need to meet the following conditions to apply for a medical card in Puerto Rico:

  • You must be a resident of the island. Patients who have registered in Puerto Rican dispensaries in cannabis-legalized states can also apply.
  • A means of identification and medical records to prove that you have a qualifying condition.
  • Paying the medical marijuana application fee of $25.

The Application Process

As long as you meet the requirements, getting an MMJ card is pretty straightforward in Puerto Rico. Here is an outline of the application process:

  • Visit the island’s official medical Cannabis Program website.
  • Visit a licensed doctor or authorized physician to determine whether you qualify for an MMJ treatment or not.
  • The recommendation details will be sent to the Medicinal Cannabis Regulatory Board (MCRB) for review, which can last up to two weeks.
  • Once you’re verified with a diagnosis and a prescription, you’ll be approved to get your card. 
  • You’ll get a PIN voucher to download your license to start purchasing marijuana from authorized dispensaries.

Qualifying Conditions For A Med Card In Puerto Rico

Only patients with a qualifying medical condition can apply for an MMJ card recommendation. Here is a list of the conditions below:

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Anorexia
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Arthritis
  • Autism
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Cachexia
  • Cancer and Cancer Chemotherapy Treatment
  • Chronic Pain
  • Depression
  • Epilepsy
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Irritable Bowel Disease
  • Insomnia
  • Migraines
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Muscle spasms
  • Peripheral Neuropathies
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Severe nausea
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Terminal illness

Methods Of Consumption

While medical cannabis is legal in Puerto Rico, smoking remains an illegal mode of consumption for medical treatment. Here are the ways of using marijuana that the territory’s Department of Health (DOH) approves:

  • Oils and other topicals like ointments and creams
  • Tablets, capsules, or edibles
  • Transdermal patches
  • Oral inhalers, oral drops, or concentrates
  • Suppositories
  • Concentrate vapors

U.S. States That Accept Out-of-State Puerto Rican Medical Marijuana Cards

The act that was passed in 2017 also included reciprocity laws for dispensaries in other U.S. states where weed is legal. Puerto Rican dispensaries can sell marijuana to med card patients from the U.S. In return, U.S. dispensaries can serve registered medical cannabis patients who travel outside of Puerto Rico as long as they have their MMJ card.

Check out the list of U.S. states that recognize a Puerto Rican med card:

  • Arizona
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • Rhode Island
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Utah
  • Washington, D.C.

Other Medical Marijuana Laws You Should Know

Here are other important things to note as you set out to obtain your medical cannabis card:

  • A notary lawyer needs to authenticate a doctor’s MMJ card recommendation.
  • Visitors with medical marijuana cards can buy cannabis from the island’s MMJ dispensaries.
  • After you’ve been approved for a med card, your name will be included in the DOH’s database, and you’ll have access to the closest cannabis dispensary to you. Also, you have to select one dispensary to shop for your cannabis needs.
  • People below 21 years of age can use medical cannabis in Puerto Rico. However, all kinds of consumption must happen privately within your home.
  • Home cultivation of cannabis is not allowed.

Caregiver/Authorized Companion Laws

  • To apply as a marijuana caregiver, you have to be at least a 21-year-old resident of the territory.
  • You’ll have to provide an official ID (passport or driver’s license).
  • The island’s police department must expedite a Caregiver’s Certification of Criminal Records.
  • The patient would need to apply and get an Authorized Companion ID Card (Identificación de Acompañante Autorizado)
  •  The caregiver would have to apply to be an authorized companion and would link their account to their patient’s using the patient’s social security number. Caregiver application in Puerto Rico costs about $44.95.
  • Once you’re approved, you can now see your patient’s information and can purchase medical cannabis for them.

There’s More!

Alongside access to possess and consume marijuana for medical reasons, MMJ cardholders enjoy other privileges. These include tax exemption, legal protection, and reduced age restriction to use medical cannabis.

As a medical cannabis patient, it is advisable that you carry your med card wherever you go. For one, it’s proof that you’re not breaking any cannabis laws. Additionally, it is the best way to ensure you get the treatment you need, irrespective of where you are in the U.S.

To learn more about getting your medical marijuana card, contact one of our doctors today.

No Information on MarijuanaDoctors.Com should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. You can view our Full Disclaimer here.

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