Last month, in Puerto Rico: November Surprise for Recreational Cannabis?, we proposed that a victory by opposition candidate Charlie Delgado “might be Puerto Rico’s best shot at recreational cannabis legalization.” As of 2:00 PM local time on November 5, Delgado has not conceded the race. However, the results so far suggest that the island’s next governor will be Pedro Pierluisi, who previously served as Puerto Rico’s congressional delegate. While in Congress, Pierluisi caucused with the Democrats, but his main affiliation is with the pro-statehood New Progressive Party (PNP).
At first glance, a Pierluisi administration does not appear to bode well for cannabis legalization. Back in 2015, Pierluisi expressed “concern” over then-Gov. Alejandro García Padilla’s executive order legalizing medical cannabis. In 2013, he plainly stated he was against cannabis decriminalization.
Of course, five or seven years are a long time in politics, especially when it comes to issues where public opinion is fast-shifting. It is therefore possible Pierluisi’s views on cannabis have evolved since then. However, there is no indication of such a shift in the public record.
At this stage, it is hard to envision any impetus for cannabis reform from the governor’s mansion. The legislature, however, might