By / June 30, 2020

Puerto Rico’s cannabis industry wants to take part in the process of law amendments

The Association of Members of the Medical Cannabis Industry (MICaM) expressed concern about the prompt approval of bills that seek to amend the law regulating the cannabis industry in Puerto Rico, without the input of said industry.

Among those proposals is Senate Bill 1317, which was approved by the House of Representatives with some amendments, so it will be evaluated in the Conference Committee during the coming weeks for approval.

For the cannabis industry, the process of discussion and approval of these amendments has been hastened, while they wait for the actual decision, and the legislature has not taken into consideration their written comments, positions, and recommendations on the subject.

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Puerto Rico’s government is approving laws without any input from the cannabis industry

“To our surprise, these cannabis bills moved forward in the congress without considering our input at all, after we presented the industry’s comments, concerns, and recommendations in writing to the legislators, in order to make a bill that adjusts to our necessities. We don’t know who is pushing for the approval of these measures behind the scenes, but they are certainly putting a lot of pressure on the cannabis sector” said Association President Jose Rivera Jimenez.

One of the issues of greatest concern to the organization is the amendment that prohibits a cannabis industry member of any company from being a member of the Medicinal Cannabis Regulatory Board. That excludes from the regulatory process those who really know the challenges, obstacles, and problems faced by this growing sector and could put their knowledge in use to push the industry forward.  

“Currently, most members of the Medicinal Cannabis Regulatory Board are agency heads, who in addition to being very busy in their respective roles, know very little about what goes on in the day-to-day operations of the cannabis establishments around the country. There needs to be representation from all industry members on that body so that there can be a link to the realities we live with every day and the struggles of the sector” added Rivera.

The cannabis industry is struggling with the government for representation

The Association of Members of the Medical Cannabis Industry (MICaM) indicated that it is imperative that the Regulatory Board has adequate representation of the cannabis industry members so that this body can comply with a coherent and balanced regulatory process focused on the best welfare of patients.  

The Association is not aware at this time of the scope of the amendments made by the House of Representatives to Senate Bill 1317.  For that reason, they are calling on legislators not to concur with the amendments and on the governor not to sign the amendments until their concerns are discussed and addressed.

One of MICaM’s recommendations is to create an Advisory Body, composed of active members from different sectors of the industry, to address technical issues and provide timely suggestions to the Regulatory Board. 

“Without this representative element, the Board will not be able to exercise its functions with the seriousness and efficiency required.  We hope they will take us into consideration before the final approvals of the measure, and ultimately we call on the Governor not to endorse the changes without our input and that of the patient community,” Rivera concluded.


(Featured image by Lena Eriksson via Pixabay)

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