Updated on February 27, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
The criteria for qualifying for medical marijuana in Puerto Rico is similar to the requirements in other countries and states in the U.S. For patients who believe cannabis medications would improve their quality of life, Puerto Rico’s Regulation No. 8766 lays out the guidelines and steps they must take.
There are only certain medical conditions that are approved to pursue medical marijuana medications. Puerto Rican residents must be 18 years or older. However, if parents can obtain cannabis medicine for their child as long as both parents approve. Tourists visiting Puerto Rico can also use their own state’s medical marijuana card in reciprocity while in Puerto Rico.
The qualifying conditions include:
Other conditions that have not responded to traditional treatments could also be approved — meet with your doctor to see if you qualify.
The Medicinal Cannabis Regulatory Board (MCRB) is the branch of Puerto Rico’s Department of Health that oversees their medical marijuana program. The process to become a patient may take some time, so it’s important for patients who wish to receive cannabis medications to begin as soon as possible:
Patients can fill out additional paperwork to assign a caregiver to obtain their medical marijuana medications for them.
For tourists with a medical marijuana card from their state, they must come to the Medicinal Cannabis Regulatory Board in person to pay the application fee so they can use a Puerto Rican medicinal cannabis establishment.
Puerto Rico has strict guidelines about where patients can access their medical marijuana products. The law prohibits personal cultivation, and the current regulation states patients can only choose one medicinal cannabis establishment from which to obtain their medications.
Many patients find this inconvenient, as it doesn’t allow them access to their cannabis medicine if they’re traveling to another district. For this reason, there has been speculation that the government will change this aspect of the regulation in the future. Patients can obtain a 30-day supply of medication when they visit their facility.
Because marijuana is still considered a Schedule I drug, patients accessing cannabis need to have their medical marijuana card on them at all times. There are strict penalties for drug possession which could include a hefty fine and up to ten years in prison. However, patients with a current medical marijuana card are free from prosecution as long as they follow the guidelines set forth by Regulation No. 8766.
Even if they have a card, patients should practice discretion. Marijuana medication should only be used in private homes, not in public. Also, patients should only carry the specified amount — no more.
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