The fourth edition of the Puerto Rico MedCann.Biz drew an attendance of thousands of new patients and the ample representation of all sectors of the local medical cannabis sector, reflecting the dramatic growth experienced by the industry to date.
The event, held in collaboration with the Puerto Rico Department of Health’s Medical Cannabis Office, resulted in the certification of a record number of new patients for a single day and served as the backdrop for several important industry announcements.
“Puerto Rico MedCann.Biz has evolved along with the needs of patients and the industry,” said MedCannBiz President Noemi Pérez.
“This year’s unifying theme ‘A Road to Better Medicine’ has guided the design of the event as a platform to provide education to patients using world class speakers and also provide the opportunity to obtain cannabis certification in a convenient, professional and secure environment,” she added.
Pérez expressed her satisfaction with the increased turnout from patients and industry professionals, including from other United States jurisdictions, as it portends continued sector growth.
“The enthusiasm from all participants is palpable. In addition to patients, we have representation from dispensaries, manufacturing operations and laboratories that serve the industry. Despite the challenges that remain, we are very optimistic about the future of medical cannabis in a Puerto Rico,” she said.
The growth in certified cannabis patients has been dramatically positive in 2018, although hindered by the passage of Hurricane María. From April through December, the number of patients has increased by 100 percent.
“This growth puts our goal of surpassing 50,000 patients before the end of 2018 well within reach,” said Pérez.
As part of remaining challenges, Pérez pointed to the need for enacting local legislation to protect patients from workplace discrimination. Furthermore, she referred to the need for educational advocacy programs aimed at promoting the vision of cannabis as a first line of treatment and not a last chance option.
At the opening panel on the state of the cannabis industry, PRICH Biotech Chief Compliance Officer José Maes, stated that having conditions such as autism as part of the 23 conditions authorized for cannabis treatment by local regulations, places Puerto Rico at the forefront.
Maes added that other aspects contribute to this, such as the possibility of delivering cannabis directly to patients, something permitted by local regulations, as well as the use of telemedicine technology.
PR MedCann.Biz continues today with its patient certifications and educational program. Speakers will include retired NFL player Marvin Washington, renowned physician Uma Dhanabalan, cannabis researcher and patient advocate Sue Sisley, economist Indira Luciano, and Ivonne Fraga.