First, let me tell you a little bit about what Medcan has been up to!
We are currently the go to provider in order to obtain the certifications that is required to get into the cannabis industry in Puerto Rico. We are approved by the Puerto Rico Health Department to do seminars and courses for Doctors, occupational, cultivation, dispensary technician, manufacturing, and oil extraction in order to obtain a license on the island. In addition, we are also able to provide CME credits for Doctors.
Medcan is currently helping 36 clients obtain their license in Puerto Rico and has already received pre-qualifications for 28 of those. Moreover, Medcan just completed turning in applications for 5 clients in Texas. These are all for completely vertically integrated companies that comprise cultivation, processing, manufacturing, testing, and dispensing including delivery; each application was roughly 2,200 pages long.
Medcan has expanded to Florida where we now have 4 clients who are preparing to apply for a license in the Sunshine State. Arkansas, whose applications come out in July, will soon be next. We are also at work with the Governments in Mexico and Columbia to bring educational and consulting services to Latin America. With all that said, you can now see how Medcan is expanding both nationally and internationally.
Cannabis as a pathway to reduce on crime
It is no secret that much of the crime in American streets is in one way or another linked to drugs. From simple theft to assassinations, many people risk their lives when they become involved in the underground drug world. Cannabis has been the epicenter of the drug war, where people’s lives have been ruined by the State for simply possessing a joint or two. However, the erroneous perceptions about Cannabis are gradually fading, making its positive impact in health, society and the economy a fact to keep an eye on.
Although cannabis has picked up traction and is now being legalized by states in one form or another, it is very clear that the fight for legalization nationwide is still very much alive. People are still being arrested for cannabis possession, including lawful patients who treat their illnesses with cannabis.
Recently, Chicago lawmakers have proposed a plan to decriminalize possession of cannabis and to allow residents to grow, possess or buy up to an ounce of cannabis. Medcan Foundation believes this could be a big step forward in combating crime in this state, specifically in cities like Chicago, which has one of the highest murder rates in the country, most of them linked to drug-related crimes. It could also help with the city’s budget deficit and help a decaying economy prosper.
In Puerto Rico, where Medcan has seen firsthand the wonders cannabis can do for patients and the industry, similar proposals have been brought to the table. Colorado legislator Daniel Pabón suggested in a recent hearing held in Puerto Rico that cannabis should be fully legalized given how successful it has turned out to be in Colorado. The state has reported a decrease in drug related crimes and certain types of crimes since decriminalization took effect back in 2014. In 2016, Colorado’s dispensaries bagged $1.3 billion in recreational and medical cannabis sales, based on Colorado Department of Revenue tax data released on February of 2017. We believe this spells nothing but great news for Puerto Rico and all other states and countries who have embraced cannabis and its wonderful attributes!
Dr. José Torres, our National Medical Director, agrees that Puerto Rico is privileged in having the best regulation for medicinal cannabis that helps protect the patient and the island. We must make sure that all patients have access to cannabis in Puerto Rico by giving the industry an opportunity to develop. The new law will help the industry grow in Puerto Rico and better itself so that all patients have access to this wonderful medicine.
Equally, more legislation is being written to help aid the path to legalization nationwide. In a recent effort, Oregon lawmakers presented a law reform that seeks amongst other things to help people involved in the cannabis industry avoid legal prosecution and help clear any criminal records of marijuana-related offenses. Similar efforts have been made by other lawmakers, and even bi-partisan bills have been presented to Congress to end the federal prohibition of cannabis and to regulate and tax it just like alcohol.
And the effects of the benefits of cannabis are being felt worldwide as well. Medcan has been a witness of the rapid growth of the cannabis industry in countries such as Mexico and Colombia, where decriminalization has begun and is seen to be a positive sign of how far the cannabis industry is going to move forward.
Although there is much that still needs to be done, the message is clear: cannabis has been redefined, and countries like The United States, Mexico and Colombia are paving the way for medical cannabis patients and the industry workers. Less crime in Puerto Rico as a result of legalization could mean a better quality of life for everyone, so if the tendencies sustain, full legalization of cannabis in Puerto Rico and the rest of the world may well be around the corner.
“Patients, doctors, caregivers and activists all had a unified message which is rare,” said Ben Pollara, who is the campaign manager for United for Care. “They want impediments removed and a free market place.”