Puerto Rico enacts new medical cannabis law

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Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello has signed into law an updated medical marijuana statute after deciding a previous MMJ legalization measure wasn’t thorough enough.

Roughly 20 medical marijuana dispensaries are already operating on the island, according to a count on Weedmaps. The dispensaries began opening for business in January after the island’s health department promulgated industry rules a year earlier.

Rossello said the new law is intended to safeguard patient safety and also “highlights the role of research and development of medicinal cannabis, which in turn will promote economic development (and) creation of jobs,” according to the EFE news agency. The law also means the U.S. territory could collect upwards of $50 million a month in taxes and fines, the Daily Mail of London reported.

The new law doesn’t allow smokable marijuana, but vaping is permitted, according to Godwin Aldarondo, a cannabis-focused attorney in Puerto Rico.

Now that Puerto Rico’s MMJ industry has full governmental support, the island could become a cannabis tourism mecca in the Caribbean. The law includes a reciprocity policy that allows dispensaries to serve patients who hold medical marijuana cards from their home states, according to Aldarondo.