How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Puerto Rico

Overview
Individuals with a qualifying medical condition are potentially eligible for a medical marijuana card in Puerto Rico. The state legalized cannabis in May 2015 (made official in July 2017), and the program made good progress until Hurricane Maria struck the island. Fortunately, the territory’s MMJ program is recovering and making good progress. In this guide, find out more about how to apply for a medical marijuana card in Puerto Rico.
State Program
Approved on
JULY 9, 2017
Online Application
YES
MD Evaluation
Required
YES
Card Validity
12Months
Patient Registry fee
$25
Phone:
787-765-2929 ext. 3504; 3505

CONSULTATION FEE RANGE

  • $50-$150 + $35 FOR NOTARIZATION

MMJ PURCHASING LIMITS

  • ONE OUNCE OF USABLE MARIJUANA OR 8 GRAMS OF A THC CONCENTRATE OR EDIBLES (SMOKING MARIJUANA IS ILLEGAL)

HOME CULTIVATION?

  • NO

MINIMUM AGE LIMIT

  • 21

Puerto Rico is the largest of America’s unincorporated territories, and medicinal marijuana is legal on the island. Like many American states, Puerto Rico has a colorful cannabis history. It was banned in 1932 and remained illegal for over 80 years. Representative Jose Baez proposed decriminalization in 2013, but at that time, an estimated 70% of residents were against it.

PR finally celebrated the availability of legal MMJ in 2017. But unfortunately, in September 2017, the devastation of Hurricane Maria rocked the island and claimed 3,000 lives. Puerto Rico’s cannabis industry, which was getting off the ground, was crippled. However, it is now beginning to make some headway.

The hope is that the fledgling MMJ industry can create tens of thousands of jobs on the island and generate over $100 million in badly needed revenue. The number of Puerto Rican residents with an MMJ card is rapidly growing.  If you wish to be part of this group, keep reading our guide, which explains how you get a PR medical card.

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Puerto Rico Medical Marijuana Laws

As recreational use is still illegal in PR, you will get into serious trouble if caught in possession of marijuana without an MMJ card. Indeed, Puerto Rico has stricter penalties than almost anywhere else in the United States.

Possessing any amount is a felony and could result in 2-5 years imprisonment. If you commit a second marijuana possession offense once you come out of jail, you could be sent back for ten years!

Illegal distribution of any amount of weed carries a fine of up to $20,000 and 20 years in prison. Even the possession of marijuana paraphernalia is a felony with a 2–5-year prison stretch as the punishment.

Therefore, you must get your medical marijuana card in Puerto Rico ASAP if you plan to use the substance.

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Puerto Rico

This guide holds few surprises if you are familiar with getting an MMJ card in any American state. As you can guess, it is a step-by-step process. The Medical Cannabis Act established the Medicinal Cannabis Regulatory Board (MCRB) in Puerto Rico. It is a body that oversees the use, growth, production, and distribution of medical marijuana.

The country’s medical marijuana law is known as Regulation No. 8766. Governor Ricardo Rossello signed it in July 2016, and it contained the initial legislation. An update named Regulation No. 9038 has made a few changes to the law. For example, a majority (51%+) of marijuana must be locally sourced.

Now, let’s look into the process of getting a Puerto Rico medical marijuana card.

Step 1 – Get in Touch with a PR Healthcare Provider

PR residents and medical tourists are potentially eligible as long as they have one of the qualifying medical conditions, which we outline below. Next, you must find an MCRB registered physician.

Doctors who wish to become MCRB certified must apply to the board and meet the following criteria:

  • They must have a valid medical license and a license to prescribe controlled substances.
  • They must have a Department of Health certificate, which confirms that they have received the appropriate training on the use of medicinal marijuana.

Doctors must also pay an additional fee to become certified.

Step 2 – Schedule a Consultation

Once you find a reputable physician, you must book an appointment.  The doctor will ask you some questions about your medical condition during the consultation. They will also quiz you on why you believe MMJ could help.

Step 3 – Sign up for a Puerto Rico State Government Account

Once the doctor has confirmed your eligibility, you must complete the application and forms found on the official MCRB website. Until August 2018, patients had to go to the MCRB office in person to hand in their documents. These days, you can complete the process online. Register an account by entering basic information. It is a simple process that takes a couple of minutes.

Step 4 – Register with the Official PR Medical Marijuana Program

Once you have opened your account, create a request, and find your physician’s recommendation. Next, you have to sign the privacy policy. Then you need to take a 2×2 photo and attach the remaining documents digitally. Ensure you also have proof of address, I.D., and any other information required on the application. When this process is finished, you are entered into a database with the island’s Department of Health.

Also, when applying for an MMJ card in Puerto Rico, you must get the doctor’s recommendation certified by a notary. In PR, only lawyers are legally allowed to act as notaries.

After sending in your paperwork, you must wait for the license to arrive in the mail. You need to contact the PR Health Department if your sealed packet doesn’t arrive within two months. It is also possible to visit the MCRB’s physical address to obtain the MMJ card in San Juan. If you live on the far west side of the island, that equates to a 2.5-hour drive.

Step 5 – Visit a Dispensary

When you have your MMJ card, you must now choose one of the licensed dispensaries. This is where you will obtain all of your cannabis. Medical tourists with an MMJ card can also use a medical marijuana dispensary on the island.

Who Can Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card in PR?

To apply for a medical marijuana card in PR, you must be aged 21+ and have one of the qualifying conditions.

Cost of MMJ Card in PR

The medical marijuana card cost in PR includes an application fee of $25, which you pay to the Secretary of the Hacienda in Puerto Rico. Generally, the physician’s consultation fee ranges from $50 to $150. It may cost around $35 to have the recommendation notarized. As health insurance doesn’t cover MMJ, the costs can mount up. However, for those who say that cannabis helps them, it is a price worth paying.

PR MMJ Card Qualifying Conditions

There is a lengthy list of potential PR medical marijuana card qualifying conditions, including:

  • Anorexia
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Peripheral neuropathies
  • Autism
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Depression
  • Glaucoma
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • PTSD
  • Hepatitis C
  • ALS
  • Epilepsy
  • Arthritis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cancer
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Migraine
  • Spinal cord injury

If you have a condition that isn’t on the list, get in touch with a physician, and see if you are eligible.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in PR?

You should receive your MMJ card within 30 days if you’re approved. During this period, you can use your receipt as a temporary card and buy MMJ.

How to Renew My Puerto Rico Medical Card?

In PR, your medical marijuana card is valid for one year. To renew, you must schedule another doctor’s consultation to receive approval. Then you must go through the application process once again.

Other Information on the PR Medical Marijuana License Process

Although the program has been operational for a while, there are still a few things that prospective patients are unaware of. We offer some answers to FAQs to help you learn more about the MMJ process in Puerto Rico.

What Types of Cannabis Can I Purchase in PR?

It remains illegal to smoke marijuana in PR, even with an MMJ card. Dispensaries sell cannabis flower, but you can only vape it. You can also buy the following forms of MMJ:

  • Oral drops
  • Pills/capsules
  • Topical THC products
  • Transdermal patches
  • Oral inhalers
  • Edibles
  • Suppositories
  • Vape products

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in PR Online

The PR medical marijuana program permits telemedicine, so you can book an online consultation. However, only a handful of reputable providers currently offer their services to residents of Puerto Rico.

Can I Register My Child for Medical Marijuana in PR?

The process we have outlined above is for PR residents aged 21+. Minors can also apply but need the permission of two physicians.

Where Can I Purchase MMJ in Puerto Rico?

There are over 200 MMJ dispensaries dotted all over the island. San Juan has the most, but there are other highly rated ones in Carolina, Dorado, and Bayamon. However, these businesses are not evenly spread. An estimated one-third of towns in Puerto Rico still don’t have an MMJ dispensary.

How Much Cannabis Can I Buy & Possess?

MMJ cardholders in Puerto Rico can possess a 30-day supply. There is little guidance regarding how much cannabis that equates to, however. Physicians determine how much it is for each patient individually.

As for purchasing limits, with a medical marijuana card, you can buy up to an ounce of flower or eight grams of THC in edible or concentrate form.

Can You Grow Marijuana in Puerto Rico with a Medical Marijuana Card?

No. At present, personal cultivation is prohibited.

Where Can I Use My MMJ?

Medical marijuana is only for use privately in your home.

Does Puerto Rico Have Reciprocity with Other States?

Yes. Medical tourists with a valid MMJ card from their home state can purchase cannabis from PR dispensaries. They must submit to the same rules and regulations as Puerto Rico cardholders.

What Are the Caregiver Rules?

At the time of writing, the Puerto Rico medical marijuana program doesn’t allow you to assign a caregiver.

What If I Lose My Medical Card in Puerto Rico?

There is no clearly outlined process, so the best thing to do is get in touch with the MCRB to determine your next steps.

When Did Medical Marijuana in Puerto Rico Become Legal?

After over 80 years of prohibition and against fierce opposition, medical marijuana finally became legal in PR in May 2015. Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla signed an executive order allowing the use of MMJ. However, it wasn’t until he signed Act 42-2017 in July 2017 that cannabis was officially legalized in the Commonwealth.

Governor Pedro Pierluisi signed an important bill into law on July 29, 2021, called Act No. 15-2021. It amends Act 42-2017, providing employment protections to MMJ patients. Consequently, companies in Puerto Rico aren’t permitted to discriminate against medical marijuana users in recruitment, hiring, termination, or other employment conditions.

However, an organization can terminate the contract of an MMJ-using employee if the substance is used during working hours without written authorization from the company. Other grounds for dismissal include if the company can prove that using marijuana is impairing job performance or poses a real threat of harm or danger to property or people.

Also, the company can act if the use of MMJ exposes it to loss of any permit, license, or certification related to any federal law, fund, or program.

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in San Juan

If you live in San Juan, finding a doctor willing to approve you for MMJ is relatively easy, as long as you genuinely have one of the qualifying conditions. There are also many licensed dispensaries in Puerto Rico’s capital.

MMJ Card for Veterans in PR

Certain clinics may offer discounts for veterans. It is also important to note that Puerto Rico offers various special benefits for veterans, service members, and their families, including property tax exemptions and other tax advantages.

Final Thoughts on Getting a Puerto Rico Medical Marijuana Card

Medical marijuana faced plenty of opposition in Puerto Rico but eventually became legal on the island. The number of MMJ patients and licensed dispensaries is growing rapidly. The program is adding revenue to a cash-strapped economy, but it is essential to note that PR has extremely harsh penalties for the illegal use or sale of cannabis. Therefore, please ensure you have your MMJ card before considering using marijuana in Puerto Rico.

Need a Medical Marijuana Card ?

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