America has seen more cannabis reform in the last few weeks than in its entire history. As November 8th approached, all eyes were on the states looking to legalize recreational or medicinal pot, and most of them did not disappoint.
But the end of prohibition is not just being enjoyed on the U.S. mainland. Puerto Rico continues to show empathy for its citizens, this time by issuing an Executive Order that government employees will no longer be drug tested for cannabis — effective immediately.
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.
Currently, there are over 60,000 registered medical marijuana patients in Puerto Rico, and the number is expected to climb significantly in 2017. No doubt, a portion of the population that has been prescribed cannabis makes a living in the public sector. This week, those people will breathe a sigh of relief knowing they will not be persecuted for their medication.
Further to that, the Puerto Ricans who work for the government and enjoy a spliff at the end of a hard day’s work can do so in peace and tranquility.
Congratulations Puerto Rico!