I moved from Brooklyn to San Juan, Puerto Rico and one of the dope things about my move is that cannabis is legal in Puerto Rico. Cannabis legalization in Puerto Rico recently happened, and was a complete deal-sealer when deciding to move to San Juan. I documented my adventure in the video below if you don't want to read.
WHAT IS LEGAL EXACTLY?
Cannabis and cannabis products are medicinally available in Puerto Rico, and if you have a Cannabis ID, you can buy up to 28 grams of cannabis a day to to "vaporize" (or make for food)! They arent allowed to say "smoke" even though they sell cannabis flower. It's a technicality that has zero enforcement. The general culture is to keep your smoke indoors. Moving on.
If you want to buy from one of the dozens of dispensaries in Puerto Rico, you need a few simple documents. There are two ways you can get qualified to enter a PR medical dispensary: 1. as a resident or 2. as a tourist in PR.
Before you decide which option you want to choose, you have to understand the order of documents and why they matter.
1. State ID or Passport
2. PR Doctors Recommendation
3. Permit from Dept of Health (Dept De Salud)
HOW TO QUALIFY
In order to enter a ANY PR dispensary FOR THE FIRST TIME, you need a Puerto Rico Issued cannabis ID (or a temporary permit) from the Dept. of Health, AND a Puerto Rico issued doctors recommendation. After your first visit to that dispensary, you will only need your cannabis ID, as they will already have you in their system.
In order to obtain a cannabis ID in PR, you need a Puerto Rico Issued doctors recommendation. They are not expensive or hard to find, and as of the writing of this blog, there are companies and dispensaries in San Juan that do all of the service for you in one visit to make the whole process faster. I used Island Med PR.
Don’t get hung up on the reasons per- say if cannabis generally increases your quality of life. The qualifying conditions include , but are not limited to:
You just really have to pay for a visit to a doctor that creates those medical recommendations and then pay for the Dept. of Health (Departmento De Salud) filing fee when you go to the Dept. of health with your recommendation.
Those separate prices vary very slightly depending on how you get it done.
WHAT WILL IT COST?
Things are always getting easier. At this point if you call/visit a BWell Healing Center, they will tell you one of their weekly open-house dates where you can go in and talk to a doctor right there and get your recommendation. That price is a flat $50 and they will give you a temporary paper-ID to use within 3 days.
Island med PR will give you a doctors visit and a full Dr.'s medical recommendation on the spot (within an hour or two) for around $40. They add an additional $60 for a certificate (which acts the same as a full Cannabis ID and takes 2-3 days to ship to your PR address and lasts for a month). Or you can pay $80 instead of $60 for the full ID (which lasts a year). Then an additional $40-50 to basically send someone to proxy file for you. (EDIT: this price may be lower now as things have gotten easier- this price is based off of my first experience in 2018)
The reason I am estimating is that this particular branch, which seems to be pretty popular for its fast and convenient turnaround, has some wiggle room on the price due to the fact the industry is still very young and they are really providing a 1-stop shop "middle man" service.
I saw no price posted online when I called they quoted me about $175 for everything. When I actually got there I paid $140 one-time for the recommendation and the full ID. It seemed the guy at the location was making an exception that none of the other employees knew about because I had cash upfront. So definitely look forward to a cash discount. (Note about cash discount: you can forget about filing online on the Island Med PR website if you want to use cash because you will only be able to use card to make an account and you will get jammed up in their website if you go back without putting in card info. Just go to the location when they are open. Its so simple, don't be a chicken)
To be honest I didn't care about the price but I would bring $200 for a full service just so you can be ready for Puerto Ricos recent "inflation".
Because the filing fee is so low and all of it seems very small scale-wise, I wouldn't be surprised if you do your own filing by going to the Dept. of Health, that you can pay way less. It really is a matter of what your time is worth in the end.
From what I saw, I guarantee the price will be way lower than $180. To be honest, if you google cannabis on the map in Puerto Rico you will see some doctors show up too and I'm sure you can get a cheap deal with a little bit of driving. Here is the link to island med: https://www.islandmedpr.com/es/
ONCE I PAY FOR EVERYTHING?
IF you get a service to file your paperwork, your temporary permit will be available at your local dispensary within a couple of days. That is the paperwork that you can use as a tourist if you stay for more than two days on the island and you want to visit a dispensary. After a couple weeks you will pick up your ID at your local dispensary, which is usually the one closest to the address that you used to file.
Every shop has a one time entry situation where u present your ID (or your temporary permit) and your dr. Recommendation. Once you do that you just bring your ID and keep your doctors paperwork at home. I keep it in an envelope in case I'm ready to visit a new shoppe and then bring it along. Every shop’s “primero visita” or “first visit” usually is data entry first and then you can go in. Theres a lot of record keeping with them and their systems. Your ID is yours once you have it and that alone gets you in all the remaining visits to shops you have been to before.
HOW LEGIT IS THIS?
The cannabis industry is exploding in San Juan.. Everything is. The closest thing I found right now as the leader on all of the levels of the industry in PR is Cannaworks. They do all license training and regulation training for pretty much every level top-down from genetics to tending.
They are here: https://cannaworkspr.com/certificacion/
Hope this helps! Happy 420!