puerto rico

Texas: Legislators File Bills To Decriminalize Marijuana


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Less than a week after several other states approved measures to weaken restrictions on marijuana, Texas lawmakers are aiming to do the same.

On Monday, the first day of bill filing for the 2017 legislative session, Texas legislators submitted several proposals to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. Bills were submitted that would create a specialty court for certain first-time marijuana possession offenders, reduce criminal penalties for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and re-classify convictions for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

On Nov. 8, voters in California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada approved recreational marijuana initiatives, adding them to a growing list of states — including Alaska,Colorado, Oregon, and Washington — that have already approved the drug for recreational use. Voters in Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota also approved medicinal marijuana initiatives.

The National Conference of State Legislators reports that 28 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico now allow comprehensive public medical marijuana and cannabis programs.

Puerto Rico: Governor Calls For Marijuana Legalization

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

On Monday, Puerto Rico's Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla proposed that Puerto Rico should legalize marijuana.

Per WDTN: "Puerto Rico’s governor has called for the legalization of marijuana during his last public address as leader of the U.S. territory.

Alejandro Garcia Padilla said Monday that taking such action would lower crime and target hypocrisy. He said legislators should at a minimum approve a bill filed in 2013 that would decriminalize marijuana. Puerto Rico’s Health Department recently adopted a regulation allowing the cultivation, manufacturing and distribution of medical marijuana."

Governor Padilla is not seeking re-election and will be replaced in this November's election; hopefully the next Governor will share in the mind-set of the current one.

Puerto Rico: Medical Cannabis Distribution Rules Created

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By Derrick Stanley, Hemp News

Health Department officials in San Juan have enacted regulations establishing the distribution and licensed production of medical marijuana in Puerto Rico. Officials expect the new program to be operative by the end of 2016.

Patients will not be allowed to grow their own plants, however; neither will herbal formulations of medical cannabis.

Under current Puerto Rican law, it is a felony to posses any amount of cannabis. Punishment can be two to five years of prison time and a $5,000 fine in this US territory.

An executive order was signed in May 2015 by Puerto Rican Governor Alejandro J. Garcia Padilla asking health officials to establish rules authorizing access to medical cannabis and allowing its production. Once the new plan is implemented, patients will be allowed to obtain cannabis-infused products, such as oils and pills from state-licensed facilities.

Source: NORML.org/news

U.S.: Advocacy Group Launches 'The Truth About Marijuana' Educational Series


New Campaign Aims to Deepen Public Knowledge about Medical Marijuana

Americans for Safe Access (ASA) on Wednesday launched "The Truth About Medical Marijuana" educational website and accompanying event series. The Truth About Medical Marijuana will focus on emerging issues in the area of medical marijuana, including understanding the research behind the medicine, emerging policies issues surrounding cannabidiol (CBD) and consumer safety issues.

During each of the next three months, event hosts will focus on these issues and prepare attendees to share that information with politicians and key decision makers, as well as providing tools to counter misinformation in the media.

“With the majority of Americans living in states that allow at least some kind of medical marijuana it’s time to move beyond rhetoric and headlines and foster a genuine understanding of this too often misunderstood medicine,” said Steph Sherer, ASA executive director. “With the Truth About Medical Marijuana, we’re filling a void by giving people straightforward explanations of the science behind medical marijuana and explaining how medical marijuana relates to them and their families.”

Medical marijuana policy has recently undergone a significant series of developments with the passage of several new state laws in a short period of time. In total, 40 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the District of Columbia allow some legal medical use of marijuana.

Puerto Rico: Cannabis Treatment Helps 9-Year-Old Boy Speak His First Words


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Kalel Santiago of Puerto Rico is just 9 years old, but he hasn't had an easy nine years. At just 10 months old, he was diagnosed with the rare childhood cancer neuroblastoma, and he spent more than two years going through surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments. Then he was diagnosed with severe, non-verbal autism.

"While he was in the hospital, we noticed he didn't speak at all and had some behavior that wasn't right, like hand flapping, and walking on his toes," said Abiel Gomez Santiago, Kalel's father, from their home in Aguada, reports Beth Greenfield at Yahoo Parenting. "But we waited until he was 3 and cancer-free to look at his behavior."

Abiel and his wife Gladys did a crash course in autism. They tried various therapies, and eventually happened upon a treatment that would change their lives: hemp oil, rich in cannabidiol (CBD), which has anecdotally been shown to dramatically ease symptoms of both epilepsy and autism.

They began giving their son twice daily doses of a CBD oral spray, and the results were startling -- Kalel started talking in just two days after a lifetime of silence.

“He surprised us in school by saying the vowels, A-E-I-O-U. It was the first time ever,” Abiel said. “You can’t imagine the emotion we had, hearing Kalel’s voice for the first time. It was amazing.

Puerto Rico: Governor Signs Executive Order To Legalize Medical Marijuana


Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla of Puerto Rico on Sunday signed an executive order yesterday legalizing medical marijuana in the U.S. territory.

The order enables the Puerto Rican Health Department to authorize the use of marijuana and its derivatives for medical purposes. The Health Secretary now has three months to produce a report etching out the details of the new system.

In 2013, a medical marijuana bill was introduced into the Puerto Rican Legislature but remains stuck in the House of Representatives.

“Governor Garcia’s executive order is exactly what was needed,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “It was the right and legal thing to do given both the absence of a ballot initiative process in Puerto Rico and the inability of the legislature to pass needed legislation.”

Twenty-three U.S. states, the District of Colombia and Guam have approved medical marijuana laws, four jurisdictions have passed laws taxing and regulating marijuana for adult use, and the federal government has made clear that they will not interfere with properly administered state marijuana programs.

Jamaica recently passed a far-reaching marijuana bill, which will set up a legal medical marijuana industry; the Chilean government has authorized a foundation to cultivate marijuana for medical purposes; and in 2013, Uruguay legalized both medical and non-medical marijuana.

Puerto Rico: Legislators Hold Public Hearings On Marijuana Legalization Bill


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Lawmakers in Puerto Rico held public hearings this week on a bill that would legalize marijuana for personal use.

Residents, community leaders and doctors spoke on Tuesday about a measure that would legalize the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis for those 21 or older, reports The Associated Press.

The bill was submitted earlier this year by former federal prosecutor and corrections secretary Sen. Miguel Pereira, who has said that cannabis possession cases are costly. Pereira has noted that 80 percent of prison inmates are serving time for nonviolent crimes.

Another recently submitted will would let Puerto Ricans use marijuana for medicinal purposes, creating a system to legally produce cannabis under the regulation of health authorities, reports Fox News Latino. That bill, coauthored by Rep. José Baez, hasn't yet been debated.

It delineates a list of medical conditions that would allow patients to smoke marijuana in their homes. Qualifying conditions would include cancer, glaucoma and anxiety.

The bill would also allow Puerto Rico's health department to award permits to patients to grow their own cannabis if they couldn't afford to buy it in an authorized dispensary, or if they lived too far away.

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