Puerto Rico has legalized medical marijuana--again! On July 9th, Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Nevares signed off on a comprehensive medical marijuana bill that will open the way for many more medical marijuana dispensaries to operate in this small U.S. territory. The previous governor had signed a similar law that allowed for a few marijuana dispensaries in Puerto Rico to open on a sort of test basis. The new law sets up a complete system for how new stores can open, and how tax revenues will be spent.
It’s those tax revenues that Puerto Rico is banking on. With seventy-four billion dollars of debt, taxes from the medical marijuana industry offer a glimmer of hope for the impoverished island. With states like Colorado raking in well over a billion dollars a year in marijuana tax revenues, Puerto Rico’s hope is not too far-fetched. The new industry is expected to create nearly 50,000 new jobs, and with 12.3% of Puerto Rico’s residents currently unemployed, those new jobs could help a lot. Money generated from the medical marijuana industry will also be used to improve local hospitals and schools, with 10% of tax revenues going to a trauma hospital, and 50% of the money collected from fines going to the University of Puerto Rico.
Cannabis business owners and entrepreneurs are expected to take interest in Puerto Rico, not only to take advantage of a new market, but to also take advantage of the territory’s tax laws. In the U.S., marijuana businesses are not allowed to claim any expenses on their taxes, whether it’s office supplies, rent, insurance, or whatever other legitimate business expenses there might be. In Puerto Rico, however, no such regulation exists, so marijuana businesses will be able to deduct expenses from their taxes just like any other business. It might seem like a drop in the bucket, but all those extra taxes add up to big bucks.
So who exactly can buy weed in Puerto Rico now? Medical marijuana use is approved for many illnesses and ailments including anxiety, arthritis, cancer, HIV, multiple sclerosis, anorexia, Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, migraines, severe pain, nausea, and many other conditions. Recreational marijuana is still illegal there, unfortunately, so don’t start packing your bags just yet.
Aren’t you glad you live in Colorado? While Puerto Rico is just getting its feet wet with medical marijuana, we’re all sitting back browsing through both medical and recreational marijuana coupons from Cannasaver to save money on our weed! Some folks just have it lucky, I suppose!