Puerto Rico: November Surprise for Recreational Cannabis?

Charlie Delgado Altieri, the main opposition candidate for governor of Puerto Rico, has suggested a new tax be imposed on hemp and medical cannabis to help foot the bill for government pensions, amidst a long-running fiscal crisis in the U.S. territory.

According to Delgado, such a levy would be justified, given the cannabis industry’s “billions of dollars” in earnings. Delgado says cannabis industry representatives with whom he has met are open to the idea in principle, with some of them having presented counterproposals. It is possible this spirit of compromise is due in part to Delgado’s indications he would take steps to allow recreational cannabis use in Puerto Rico. As they say in Puerto Rico, hay que dar del ala para comer de la pechuga: You have to give up some of the wing to get some of the breast.

Delgado does not appear to be an ardent supporter of legalization, but an administration led by him might be Puerto Rico’s best shot at recreational cannabis legalization. The fracture between Delgado’s Popular Democratic Party (PPD) and the governing New Progressive Party (PNP) is primarily over political status preferences (continuation of the territorial status quo vs. statehood). Nonetheless, the partisan


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