Puerto Rico Marijuana Legalization Bill Filed

Puerto Rico has become the latest US state or dependency to see a marijuana legalization bill filed this year. Sen. Miguel Pereira earlier this month filed Senate Bill 517 (link is in Spanish) earlier this month.

Ten states have seen marijuana legalization legislation so far this year. They are Alabama, Hawaii (already dead), Maine, Maryland (already dead), Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.

The bill introduced by Periera, a former police chief and federal prosecutor, would amend the island's drug statute so that it "will not be applicable to the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by adults 21 and over." It does not address marijuana cultivation or commerce.

While the bill's prospects are cloudy, space is emerging in the island dependency for a discussion of marijuana policy. Last week, Puerto Rican Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla suggested he was open to such a discussion.

"I don't have a problem with an open debate about the possibilities, benefits or drawbacks of such a measure," Garcia Padilla said during a press conference.

The bill has been assigned to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Security, and Veterans Affairs.

– Article originally from Stop the Drug War, used with permission.