Puerto Rico Senator Introduces Bill to Make Marijuana Legal for Adults

Apr 23, 2013

adult, Alejandro Garcia Padilla, Luis Sanchez Betances, Miguel Pereira, Puerto Rico

The U.S. territory of Puerto Rico has entered debate over marijuana. Sen. Miguel Pereira filed a bill last week that would permit adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana, arguing that 80 percent of inmates are serving time for non-violent crimes and that possession cases cost the government money.

[caption id="attachment_6323" align="alignleft" width="226"]miguel-pereira Sen. Miguel Pereira[/caption]

The actions of the former federal prosecutor and corrections secretary roused mixed emotions. Supporters marched through the streets towards the Capitol building on Saturday in excitement, while critics called for his resignation.

Amidst the cheers and jeers were also voices of reason. During a press conference, Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla stated, “I don’t have a problem with an open debate about the possibilities, benefits or drawbacks of such a measure.” Justice Secretary Luis Sanchez Betances similarly stated that the proposal opens the door for discussion.

Marijuana possession in Puerto Rico can carry up to three years in jail and a $5,000 fine.