Puerto Rico Medical Marijuana Providers Servicing Patients In the Wake Of Devastation
Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria last month, leaving a trail of destruction across the tiny island. The damage from the hurricane, which is so far untallied but undoubtedly will end up in the billions, came at the worst possible time. Puerto Rico’s debt crisis was forcing them to seek new sources of funding, and medical marijuana made the cut. As the industry had just begun to take shape, and hope for a new stronger economy was taking hold, Hurricane Maria wiped away much of the island in the blink of an eye. But even as much of the island lay in ruin, Puerto Rico’s medical marijuana provider’s are starting to rebuild one patient at a time.
Puerto Rico’s debt was a staggering $74 billion dollars, before the storm. The US seemed intent on allowing Puerto Rico to default on its debts essentially destabilizing the already suffering state. The legalization of medical marijuana had started to put hope back into the people that their debt crisis could be overcome, as marijuana brings a new influx of cash to hurting economies. On September 20, Maria wiped out the vast majority of the island. More than 40 people died and key government and public works infrastructure was destroyed or heavily damaged.
Despite the damage, two-thirds of Puerto Rico’s dispensaries have managed to get their facilities operational and have once again begun to service patients. For the first few weeks, only 4 out of 29 dispensaries were open. Now there are 20. Due to the storm, patients regulations restricting them to a single provider are suspended. They are now free to visit any dispensary on the island, until such time the government withdraws the temporary easing of the rules. For many this is not about business, it’s about patient care, which makes keeping dispensaries open a priority. Even though the majority of the island still has no access to clean water or electricity, Puerto Rico’s medical marijuana providers are doing everything they can to ensure the needs of their patients are met.
Cory Hughes is a former police officer turned cannabis cultivator and writer. After years of being on the wrong side of the law, Cory decided to hang up his badge and gun and move into an industry that truly has the potential of bringing people together. He has been an active part of the Colorado cannabis culture and has worked as a horticulturist in dozens of licensed grow operations. Cory now looks to share his knowledge of cultivation and horticulture with the world.