Puerto Rico MMJ Sales Could Start in Early 2017

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Puerto Rico’s emerging medical marijuana market could be up and running as soon as January, with dispensaries on the island being allowed to cater to tourists.

The general counsel for Puerto Rico’s health department, Mayra Maldonado, told the Denver Post that the territory is moving quickly on licensing and infrastructure, and that sales could commence early next year.

To date, Maldonado said, Puerto Rico has received 21 business applications. Twenty of those are cultivation applications. The territory is anticipating more applicants for MMJ dispensaries and product manufacturing permits, she added.

The small Caribbean island has moved fairly quickly on establishing its MMJ regulatory scheme. Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla signed an executive order in May 2015 legalizing medical cannabis, and by January rules had been adopted to govern the industry.

Puerto Rico won’t allow smokable MMJ, akin to Minnesota and New York, but it will allow cannabis patches, pills and oils. And its reciprocity provision means that entrepreneurs that do open dispensaries on the island will be allowed to serve MMJ tourists, which could prove to be a big draw.