Puerto Rico’s pot boom? Medical marijuana industry touts growth, despite challenges

April 13th, 2019 by admin Leave a reply »

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Lirio Rivera, 62 and a grandmother of five, admits she’s an unlikely convert to the virtues of marijuana.

Rivera, who describes herself as a conservative and religious homemaker, grew up believing “mafú” — a word for pot — was a dangerous drug and stayed away from it. That changed after Rivera found relief from the chronic pain and fatigue caused by fibromyalgia by using capsules containing cannabidiol, or CBD, an active component of marijuana that does not cause a high.

Lirio Rivera.Courtesy of Lirio Rivera

Since the legalization of medical marijuana two years ago in Puerto Rico, the storied plant is quietly transforming the financial landscape here, and Rivera is one of thousands of islanders either using, growing or selling medical marijuana.

Millions of dollars in investments are financing marijuana farms and dispensaries that sell everything from pot-laced ylang-ylang scented massage oils to tropical-flavored edibles, as well as the capsules used by people like Rivera. This has taken place despite operational, banking and regulatory challenges.

“If people knew the healing power of cannabis, everyone would be growing it in their patios,” she said.

The industry

In 2015, a year before leaving office, then-Gov. Alejandro Padilla legalized medical marijuana by executive order after a series of public debates. Two years later, the legislature voted it into law and Gov. Ricardo Rosselló signed the legal framework for

Article source: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/puerto-rico-s-pot-boom-medical-marijuana-industry-touts-growth-n985026