Less than a year after signing an executive order legalizing medical cannabis, Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla has called on the territory to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes. The statement was made during Padilla’s final public address as leader of Puerto Rico; Padilla is not seeking reelection.
According to Padilla, legalizing cannabis would lower crime, help the territory’s budget deficit and target hypocrisy. He said legislators should, at a minimum, pass a 2013 bill that would decriminalize cannabis. In September, Padilla signed an executive order decriminalizing small amounts of cannabis, though it only applies to the possess of up to six grams.
Puerto Rico’s Health Department recently adopted regulations allowing the cultivation, manufacturing and distribution of medical cannabis, with the full program expected to be up and running later this year.