Legality of Cannabis by U.S. Jurisdiction

Cannabis in Puerto Rico is illegal for recreational use. Legislation to ban cannabis was passed in 1932, and legislation to legalize medical use was passed in 2017. Although the medical use of cannabis is permitted, smoking it is prohibited.[1]

Prohibition (1932)[edit]

On April 19, 1932, Puerto Rico enacted Act 12, "An Act to Punish the Planting, Importation, Purchase, and Sale of Marijuana, and for Other Purposes" (Spanish: "Ley para castigar la siembra, importación, compra y venta de la marijuana, y para otros fines").[2] The included penalties were a minimum of one month and maximum of one year in jail.[3]

On May 13, 1934, Puerto Rico enacted Act No. 61, in keeping with the 1934 Uniform State Narcotic Drug Act.[3]

Attempted decriminalization (2013)[edit]

In 2013, Representative José Luis Báez proposed decriminalization, however polling by the newspaper El Nuevo Día indicated that 26% of those surveyed were in favor of decriminalization, with 70% against and 4% unsure.[4]

Medical cannabis[edit]

In May 2015, Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla signed an executive order permitting the use of medical cannabis.[5]

On July 9, 2017, Governor Padilla signed Act 42-2017, named the Act to Manage the Study, Development and Investigation of Cannabis for Innovation, Applicable Norms, and Limitations, into law, officially legalizing cannabis for medicinal purposes in the commonwealth.[6]


  1. ^ "Puerto Rico Medical Marijuana Law". NORML. Retrieved March 28, 2021.
  2. ^ Puerto Rico (1935). Acts and Resolutions of Puerto Rico. Equity de Puerto Rico. pp. 158–159.
  3. ^ a b Sidney Kaye; Gilbert W. Meier (1985). Alcohol, Drugs, and Traffic Safety: Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Alcohol, Drugs, and Traffic Safety, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1983. U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. pp. 26–.
  4. ^ "Rotundo "no" a la marihuana legal". El Nuevo Dia. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  5. ^ Alexandra Sifferlin. "Puerto Rico Governor Signs Executive Order to Legalize Medical Pot". Time. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  6. ^ "La Ley para Manejar el Estudio, Desarollo e Investigación del Cannabis para la Innovación, Normas Aplicabes y Límites". Puerto Rico Department of Health. Retrieved July 8, 2022.