24 November 2016
Governor Alejandro J. Garcia Padilla issued the order this week, which called for the removal of marijuana from the list of controlled substances that drug tests identify. The official document called on “all the offices, departments, agencies, corporations, and dependent public offices of the executive branch” to amend their regulations and exclude marijuana from drug screening procedures.
The document outlines the purposes for the drug tests are to ensure that employees working in the public sector are not “under the effects of a controlled substance” while doing their duties. This amendment shows a true understanding of the unique position that cannabis holds as a natural medicine.
Puerto Rico’s appreciation for the benefits of marijuana has been prevalent for some time. The U.S. territory adopted medical marijuana legislation in May of 2015 when Governor Padilla issued an Executive Order to do so.
By January of this year, the Puerto Rican government had drafted a framework for its medical marijuana program, and in July, the first of its doctors received certification to prescribe cannabis. While all this was taking place, the Health Department began receiving applications for licensed producers and dispensaries.