SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO. 6 May, 2015 — On the heels of an executive order on Sunday legalizing medical cannabis, government officials weighed in with more details on Tuesday, telling reporters Tuesday smoking marijuana would still be considered a crime, regardless of the purpose. Patients will be permitted to vape or consume their medical cannabis derivatives by pill or edible.
Under the order issues by Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla on Sunday the island’s Health Secretary Ana Rius has three months to provide a report detailing how the order will be implemented, projected impact and additional steps that could be taken in the future. Governor Garcia has not indicated his views on smoking as a delivery method. His executive order spelled out no details on the types of medical cannabis use he supports, and his office said he does not intend to comment on these matters. Justice Secretary Cesar Miranda told reporters that once the health department’s report is finalized, legalization measures will proceed without further approval from the governor. “Smoking marijuana is not being contemplated as part of a medical treatment,” Miranda said in a statement to the Associated Press.
Secretary Rius said that the University of Puerto Rico will investigate the use and production of medicinal cannabis. She identified Chicago-based Quantum 9 and Las Vegas-based GrowBlox Sciences as two companies with whom the university is collaborating.
Of the 23 states that have legalized use of medical marijuana, only New York has banned smoking as a delivery method. Advocates believe patients should be permitted to determine which methods helps their conditions most. Smoking appears to have the advantage of bringing rapid pain and nausea relief, and helping patients modify the dose they need at the time, without having to commit to a fixed dose in an edible.