Is Weed Legal in Puerto Rico? PR Cannabis Laws (March 2023)
This article answers the question “Is marijuana legal in Puerto Rico?” We present a complete rundown of recreational and medical laws, including possession limits, home cultivation, public consumption, traveling, and hemp-derived psychoactive cannabinoids. You’ll also learn about the qualifying conditions to become a medical marijuana patient in Puerto Rico.
Weed isn’t legal for recreational use in Puerto Rico, but medical marijuana in non-smokeable forms is allowed.
Qualifying patients may apply for a medical marijuana card and purchase a 30-day supply of medical marijuana from a dispensary.
However, patients can’t grow their own plants.
Puerto Rico hasn’t decriminalized marijuana, meaning that penalties are steep for possession. Any amount may lead to a felony conviction, jail time, and heavy fines.
Fortunately, there’s a federally legal alternative to marijuana from Puerto Rico. Read on to find out what you can and can’t do with cannabis there.
Is Weed Legal in Puerto Rico?
Weed is legal in Puerto Rico only for medical use.
Related: Cannabis Laws in the US
Is Recreational Marijuana Legal in Puerto Rico?
No. Marijuana is illegal in Puerto Rico for recreational use. The possession, cultivation, and sale of marijuana are state felonies. Even possession of paraphernalia is punished.
Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Puerto Rico?
Yes. Puerto Rico legalized medical marijuana in 2015, when then-Governor Alejandro J. Garcia Padilla approved Executive Order 2015-10.
Regulation 8766, which created the framework for medical dispensaries, was passed in 2016. Sales began in 2017.
Patients may buy up to a 30-day supply of marijuana, but flowers and other smokeable forms are prohibited.
Home cultivation isn’t permitted.
Penalties for Marijuana Possession
As mentioned earlier, penalties for possession are steep. Any amount may lead to a felony conviction, up to five years in prison, and $5,000 in fines on the first offense.
Subsequent offenses increase the jail time up to 10 years and add another $5,000 to the pool.
Distribution is also classified as a felony. First-time offenders may be sentenced to serve up to 20 years in prison and pay a maximum fine of $20,000. Subsequent offenses may lead to a maximum of 40 years and prison and $30,000 in fines.
Even if you’re caught with marijuana paraphernalia, such as pipes or bongs, you’ll be charged with a felony offense and be sentenced to five years in prison on top of paying a $5,000 fine.
Is Weed Decriminalized in Puerto Rico?
No. Any amount of weed is punishable with fines and prison time. The good news is that in 2015, then-governor Alejandro J. Garcia Padilla signed an executive order (OE 2015-35), advising law enforcement not to prosecute and imprison individuals who possess six grams or less of weed.
What’s the Future of Cannabis Legalization in Puerto Rico?
Puerto Rico had a few attempts to legalize marijuana in the past, but they all failed.
Recently, however, a senator in Puerto Rico has filed a bill to remove penalties for low-level marijuana possession in the state — following Biden’s Pardon Action.
The official summary says the bill would “eliminate all penalties established against any person for possession for the personal use of marijuana.”
No other bills are pending that would legalize weed in Puerto Rico in 2023.
Delta-8 THC: A Better and Federally Legal Alternative to Marijuana in Puerto Rico
If you’re not a medical marijuana patient — i.e. you don’t have a qualifying condition — then your hands are tied when it comes to buying weed legally in Puerto Rico.
Hopefully, recent advancements in extraction methods have allowed hemp manufacturers to extract usable quantities of THC isomers from hemp.
You’ve probably come across delta-8 THC or delta-10 THC, seeing those online ads ending with “FEDERALLY LEGAL.”
That’s right. You can legally buy hemp-derived delta-8 THC and experience a similar cognitive buzz to weed as long as your product contains no more than 0.3% delta-9 THC.
Is delta-8 THC legal in Puerto Rico? We’ll get to that in a bit. But first, let’s make sure you know the difference between delta-9 and delta-8 — and why people are turning to the latter.
Delta-8 THC vs. Delta-9 THC
Delta-8 and delta-9 are two versions of the THC molecule. Delta-9 THC is the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana plants — the “why” behind getting high.
Delta-8 THC is an isomer of delta-9. Both compounds have a similar chemical formula, but their atomic bonds are arranged differently.
Delta-8 THC has a double bond at the eighth carbon chain; meanwhile, delta-9 THC has this bond at the ninth chain.
Hence the difference in potency.
Delta-8 THC is about 50% as potent as delta-9, offering a smoother buzz and a lower incidence of anxiety and paranoia.
Cons of Delta-9 THC from Marijuana
The effects of marijuana are dose-dependent.
In low and moderate doses, weed can ease pain, relieve stress, elevate mood, and improve focus.
Large doses make you feel high, causing euphoria, giggles, increased appetite, and warped perception of time and surroundings. Your thinking patterns change, and you may become more creative, and empathetic, or find yourself exploring the depths of your own thoughts.
Most people enjoy the effects of delta-9 THC without any unpleasant consequences. However, some individuals are overly sensitive to its psychedelic nature and experience distress.
The side effects of taking too much delta-9 THC include:
- Feelings of discomfort
- Cold sweats
- Increased heart rate
- Short-term memory problems
Effects and Benefits of Delta-8 THC
Delta-8 THC produces the same type of effects as delta-9, but it’s not as powerful. This feature makes it less likely to trigger anxiety and paranoia on top of providing a smoother cerebral buzz.
Not much is known about the health benefits of delta-8 THC because research is still in its infancy. However, judging from their similar chemical formula, It’s only reasonable to assume they come with similar therapeutic effects.
People take delta-8 THC for the following health benefits:
- Pain relief
- Increased appetite
- Feelings of calmness and relaxation
Is Delta-8 THC Legal in Puerto Rico?
Yes, delta-8 THC hemp products are legal in Puerto Rico. State law aligns with the provisions laid out by the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp and its derivatives.
By derivatives, I mean all hemp cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, isomers, salts, and salts of isomers.
Such products are legal as long as they don’t contain more than 0.3% delta-9 THC on a dry weight basis.
So far, 14 states have banned delta-8 THC products. Fortunately, Puerto Rico isn’t one of them.
You shouldn’t have problems finding delta-8 THC locally and online.
Benefits of Buying Delta-8 THC Online
Maybe I’m biased, but for me, online is the best way to buy anything — and delta-8 THC is no exception.
When you buy delta-8 THC, you can reap a few perks that you won’t find in traditional stores:
- Lower prices: cutting out the middleman allows online stores to offer better prices on their products. You can further save more money thanks to coupon codes, reward programs, or subscription orders.
- Transparency: you can read third-party lab reports and customer reviews.
- Better product selection: online stores often have several different formats, with various flavors, potencies, and sizes to choose from. These products are also fresher than store-bought ones because online stores don’t stock their “shelves” in advance.
- Convenience: no need to drive around town and bounce from one store to another. You can compare hundreds of options in the comfort of your home at any time you want.
Best Online Delta-8 THC Stores
Finding a reputable delta-8 THC brand can be a hard nut to crack if you’re just dipping your toes in the delta-8 space.
The number of products is overwhelming, and so is the amount of time you need to devote to research.
Check out these two leading brands if you’re looking for a quick recommendation. Both companies offer premium-grade extracts with complete lab-testing profiles and excellent customer service.
1. Area 52
Get 15% off all Area 52 products. Use code “CFAH” at checkout.
Area 52 wants you to “alienize your mind” with their products, which is one of the best depictions of delta-8 effects I’ve seen so far. The company’s website is also spacey, adding up to the overall vibe.
But the best part about this brand is its product selection. Area 52 offers a wide range of delta-8 extracts, from tinctures to vape carts, edibles, and pre-rolled joints.
These products can pack a punch with 25-40 mg of delta-8 per serving, but more importantly, they’re rich in terpenes, which potentiates the cognitive buzz and the health benefits of delta-8 THC.
Area 52 hasn’t stopped at delta-8. Earlier this year, it released a new line of “true full-spectrum” products, featuring classic formats like immunity gummies, sleep gummies, energy gummies, and CBD oil, as well as novel products like delta-8 honey and HHC gummies.
2. Finest Labs
Finest Labs is my go-to recommendation for beginners who want a simple product selection. The company may not spoil you for choice, but its formulas are crafted with great attention to detail, especially when it comes to the ratios between cannabinoids and terpenes.
You can choose a variety of delta-8 products, from tinctures to gummies. The tincture contains 500 mg delta-8 THC (15 mg per serving) while the gummies come with 25 mg delta-8 per piece. It’s a great pick if that’s your first time with psychoactive cannabinoids.
And if you’re up for making your own cannabinoid blends, Finest Labs offers 31 different terpenes that can help you achieve similar aroma and flavor profiles to various cannabis strains.
Who can use medical marijuana in Puerto Rico?
You can apply for a medical marijuana card if you’ve been diagnosed with one of the following conditions:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Anxiety disorders
- Degenerative diseases, such as ALS or multiple sclerosis
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Palliative care
- Hepatitis C
- Spinal cord injuries
- Peripheral neuropathies
- Parkinson disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Bipolar disorder
- Chronic pain
- Severe nausea
Can you grow weed in Puerto Rico?
No. Marijuana cultivation is banned in Puerto Rico, even for medical marijuana patients.
Can you smoke marijuana in public?
No, the law in Puerto Rico prohibits public cannabis consumption. Patients must consume marijuana on private properties.
Can you travel with marijuana in Puerto Rico?
If you’re a medical marijuana cardholder, you can travel with cannabis, but it must be kept in a closed container and out of the driver’s reach.
However, you can’t take your medicine outside of the state. Doing so is considered a federal felony (drug trafficking) and may land you a 5-year prison sentence on top of $250,000 in fines.
Is buying weed online an option in Puerto Rico?
No. You need to visit a medical dispensary if you want to buy marijuana in Puerto Rico. Online sales and deliveries are prohibited.
Is CBD oil from hemp legal in Puerto Rico?
Yes. All hemp-derived products are legal in Puerto Rico under the 2018 Farm Bill. Hemp is now an agricultural commodity that farmers can grow and sell for any use. This includes paper, ropes, clothes, construction materials, biofuel, food, and health supplements, such as CBD oil.
Buying Weed in Puerto Rico: Bottom Line
Puerto Rico is at the bottom of the list of cannabis tourist destinations. Recreational marijuana remains illegal, and the state only allows non-smokeable forms of medical cannabis.
However, Puerto Rico has surprisingly relaxed laws surrounding delta-8 THC from hemp. Such products are legal as long as they contain 0.3% delta-9 THC or less.
While you shouldn’t have problems tracking down a CBD store that will offer a few delta-8 THC products, you’ll find better deals and more transparent vendors online.
Let’s hope that Puerto Rico soon approaches its marijuana laws in the same way it tackled the problem of delta-8 legality.