Puerto Rico Betting on Medical Marijuana

Puerto Rico is facing billions of dollars in budget cuts, a public debt load of more than $70 billion and a declining population as people flee to the mainland seeking better opportunities. But people are betting that the new cannabis industry can revert the situation.

Puerto Rico — Jesus Aponte pushes a door open to reveal hundreds of aromatic, spiky green plants, a crop that Puerto Rico hopes will help it ease a grinding economic crisis by generating millions in revenue and tens of thousands of jobs.

Aponte, a 29-year-old biologist and chemical engineer, had been thinking of joining the wave of young Puerto Rican professionals heading to the U.S. to seek work — an exodus that has aggravated the U.S. territory’s woes. But then he saw the saw the island’s medical marijuana industry start to expand, and found one of the rare new jobs opening up on the island, overseeing some 2,000 plants at the Natural Ventures facility.

– Read the entire article at Seattle Times.