Puerto Rico’s wholesale medical cannabis sales steered by edibles

Almost three percent of all Puerto Ricans are registered to receive weed as a treatment

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Puerto Rico’s wholesale medical cannabis sales steered by edibles

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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Cannabis-infused edibles are taking the legal market by storm and, according to recently published data by LeafLink, Puerto Rico is cashing in on the rise of edible weed. Edible cannabis products constituted one-third of all wholesale sales in Puerto Rico in recent times. 

Compared to other states that have legalized weed, this is twice the average of other U.S. cannabis markets.

Puerto Rico legalized cannabis in 2015, but it wasn’t until 2017 that the market took off.

LeafLink is an online wholesale marketplace with headquarters in New York and Los Angeles

Data published by LeafLink tells us that wholesale edible market share in Puerto Rico’s cannabis industry rested at 34 percent during the second quarter. When compared to other state markets, this is double the average of nine of them.

“Puerto Rico is still a young cannabis market. We know edibles are a top category for retailers there, but as demand grows, there will have to be an increase in output from existing brands or supplemental output from new brands to keep up supply,” the CEO and co-founder of LeafLink, Ryan Smith, told MJBizDaily.

Puerto Rico’s cannabis market has experienced rapid growth since 2017

Since sales of medical cannabis begin in Puerto Rico back in January 2017, the program has experienced major growth. In 2015, former Governor Alejandro Padilla legalized cannabis for medical purposes by means of an executive order. This move came after a number of public debates were held on the issue. 

Two years after Padilla legalized medical cannabis in Puerto Rico, it was voted into law by the legislature, before the new Governor Ricardo Rosselló signed its regulatory framework into effect.

Thousands of patients have already enrolled in Puerto Rico’s medical cannabis program. The health department revealed that – based on the most recent patient count of 92,499 – almost three percent of all Puerto Ricans are registered to receive weed as a treatment. 

Arizona and New Mexico are two other U.S. territories with a similar percentage of residential cannabis consumers.

Various U.S. companies are looking to Puerto Rico for cannabis opportunities

The island is still healing, following the devastation caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria. Both natural disasters struck in 2017, leaving an expensive trail of disaster that slung the territory into $72 billion public debt. 

Legal medical cannabis in Puerto Rico is a welcome boost to the economy. 

An amalgamation of fees – such as those paid by employees, business owners, patients and healthcare professionals for various licenses and permits, e.g. cannabis transporting licenses, sales permits and doctor-approved prescriptions – have bulked up the territory’s finances by $11.5 million.

Soaring demand from patients has been attributed to the generous revenue earned through Puerto Rico’s medical cannabis program. State data revealed that 15,018 new patients enrolled from May to July. Included in this figure were tourist enrolees.

With so much potential, it’s not surprising that many U.S.-based cannabis companies are migrating to Puerto Rico to broaden business operations. The U.S. territory is also expected to help resolve supply issues by increasing cultivation output.