Puerto Rico has emerged with vibrant energy since hurricane Maria devastated the island two years ago. The people are passionate about regenerating their communities and anxious for changes in the local government. The country has just completed several months of protests that climaxed with them running their local leaders out of office. Citizens participated in many different forms of protests that were entirely non violent. They have created the framework for a growing cannabis industry with fully integrated grow operations, plentiful retail locations and a proper underground event scene. Heidi Keyes and I traveled to the island and met up with our friend Carmen Portela, owner of Local Guest and member on the island’s board of tourism. She is known for connecting people to amazing experiences both on the island and throughout the mainland US. Her purpose is to bolster the economy and more importantly, empower residents in communities where her business has a presence. This passion for people makes Carmen a loyal friend to our global cannabis community.
The first thing to remember when visiting Puerto Rico as an MMJ patient is to travel with a recommendation from your doctor that specifically includes cannabis FLOWER. Patients with any state MMJ card are allowed to purchase edibles, extracts and vape products. Patients that have a current cannabis flower recommendation from a doctor will also be allowed to buy unlimited cannabis flowers. (It’s good practice to carry your MMJ referral when traveling anywhere outside your home state. Signed paperwork is better if any situation arises.)
Dispensaries in Puerto Rico are well stocked with edibles, tinctures, topicals, sugar wax, diamonds & sauce, shatter and crumble. All products are lab tested and many dispensaries have current lab results on file. The flower sells for about $10 per gram with constant specials and sales throughout the week. The quality is impressive and they have many strains and producers to choose from. There is no limit. You can buy an ounce or more per day if you like.
The dispensaries are a short walk from miles of amazing beaches, rainforest and dry forest. There are so many beautiful sites to see in every direction. In Old San Juan we recommend flower and edibles before heading to the Old Spanish Castillo Morro and Castillo San Cristobal to explore. The castle admission is $7 and will keep you busy for two hours walking through the dungeons, tunnels and guard towers. The views of the ocean are incredible. Once you have explored the ancient cemetery and the fortified coast, head into the downtown streets to see beautiful art and cool off with some local beers. Medalla is the local light beer and is sold ice cold around the island. Feel free to spark up a joint while strolling through the charms of the historic town.
Social consumption laws in Puerto Rico are nonexistent just like other medical and recreational markets. The tourism board is already looking for ways to bring together the cannabis and tourism industries. So many Americans can visit Puerto Rico because it’s so easy to get to. No passport is required, most everyone speaks english, the currency and time zones stay the same. This makes Puerto Rico an easy paradise escape for Americans wanting to experience different cultures without feeling too far off the grid. Travel is surprisingly affordable from most airports and cruise lines so start planning your Puerto Rico cannabis retreat today.
Some fantastic spots that we visited for cannabis were Pura Cepa, Farma Verde, Canna Wave, New Era Pharmacological, and HerbaCann dispensary. They each have excellent service and an amazing selection of exotic flowers. Extract brands we really enjoyed are Kana Extracts from Farma Verde and Tu Medicina. The Mountain High Suckers are potent edibles so be careful with the dose of any edibles you try. For real, the edibles hit extra hard here.
Pura Cepa Dispensary | San Juan, PR
Pura Cepa Dispensary
305 Calle de Tetuan, San Juan, 00901, Puerto Rico 787-625-0420 @puracepa_cm
This beautiful storefront sits right on the coast, in the heart of artsy Old San Juan, a lovely walkable neighborhood. After hurricane Maria the owners invested in a complete remodel of the building inside. Large TV screens display the products and the current menu. Illuminated microscopes provide a zoomed view of each flower or wax sample before purchase. The strains of sugar wax, which are kept freshly refrigerated, are recommended to enhance your island vacation vibes. The team here shares a genuine passion for education. The cannabis patients in town insisted we meet Tatiana but she had just left before we arrived. We heard from patients around town how thorough and amazing her service is. Feel free to stop in and learn about cannabis wellness from Tatiana or the owner Javier Delgado. They share a passion for advancing cannabis as medicine and also normalizing recreational use. The dispensary lobby looks like the set of Mad Men or Dick Tracy movie. It’s very upscale and nice.
619 Av. Hipódromo, San Juan, 00909, Puerto Rico 939-229-1200
The crew here was super friendly and this place offers many flower and wax specials. On the day we arrived, they had fresh Lemon Haze and Wookies in stock. Their reserve strains were beautiful and they also had lots of value flower and shake specials. They sell all small nugs, leaves and trim to patients as well for making edibles and other forms of medicine. This was a nice offer to patients. The batches of cannabis flowers were well separated and very fresh. The deli style service from Victor and Reggie was on point. Reggie is the extract maker in charge of two new presses they have just setup.
New Era Cannabis | Humacao, PR
New Era Cannabis
Industrial Barrio Cataño solar #8 Humacao, Puerto Rico 00791 787-981-8765 @neweracannabishumacao
New Era was the first dispensary grow in Puerto Rico to invite us for a visit. We drove across the island north to south, from San Juan to Humacao, about 60 minutes, to meet Domingo and Victor. They’ve been carrying our magazines for months and it was time to finally meet in person. We were impressed at how they are carefully utilizing their resources on the island to cultivate some beautiful cannabis genetics. They start by recycling about 80% of the water used on site. The flowering rooms are run by Manuel with Med Seed Growers and they are impressive. There are obstacles to growing on the island such as space limitation and climate. This team is pioneering innovative tactics for any growers facing the same challenges. Be very careful with the edibles here, everything on the shelves is super potent. Seriously, there are no dosage limitations. You can buy an ounce of flower per day or lollipop with 500mg of THC.
Farma Verde | Carolina, PR
Ave. Isla Verde Parque Isla Verde 123 Carolina, Puerto Rico 00979 787-998-2420
All cannabis patients and US tourists are welcome here at Farma Verde Dispensary. This location is just steps away from the port where the cruise ship drops passengers for sightseeing. They have extract specials up to 25% off, sometimes for the whole month. Their house extract brand, KANA, includes waxes, diamonds, live rosin, crumbles, terp sauces. It’s known as some of the best concentrates on the island. You will find other great brands on the shelves like TuMedicina and many others as well. They welcome all tourists and cannabis patients here with open arms. Employees in scrubs greet each patient and guide first time patients through the sign up process. We were guided on a tour with the store manager Hector Ortiz. These folks are serious about cannabis purity so get ready for quality medicine. Mention Cannabis Cactus at any of these dispensaries for a special treat from Hector. He explained each product and made sure we found exactly what we needed.
HerbaCann Apothecary | San Juan, PR
#4 Calle De Mexico San Juan, Puerto Rico 787-625-0420
A pro-patient medical boutique with a holistic approach. This dispensary is located in the business district in the bustling city. The first four floors of the building are dedicated to cannabis retail, cultivations, genetics and finally doctoral research. We were invited by the lovely Natalia @nananuggz for a visit. We were thrilled to add the Green Thumb Boyz at the HerbaCann Apothecary to our tour list. This is the only aeroponic grow on the island. They make great use of the limited space by using new creative technology to feed and rotate the plants. They occupy the first four floors of an office building in the heart of the city. The bottom floor is the dispensary with beautiful check in area and display shelves. They carry the only vegan edible line on the island as well as topicals, tinctures, extracts and beautiful flower. The display jars have a large magnifying lense on top for really nice illuminated viewing. These are the nicest display jars we have ever seen. The team Rafael and Natalia are so passionate about cannabis and helpful with each patient. Natasha leads the team with a big smile and made us feel so welcome. On the second floor is the cloning area where they house the mother plants and stage pheno research for new strains. The third floor is where the phenos are isolated with the doctor who studies cannabis strains and effects. The fourth floor houses the flowering rooms full of rotating aeroponic towers filled with rows of plants up to the top. Jose and Antonio are the grow team dialing in the operation and doing a great job of increasing yields in the small space available. They are passionate about genetics being the center of reliable cannabis medicine.
Whether your cruise ship is docking in San Juan for the day or you have secured one a beautiful Airbnb casita in town, you will be in the perfect place to unwind with ocean breezes and top shelf cannabis. Be sure to take advantage of this paradise cannabis location and stay tuned for the many new events and travel opportunities coming to the island. Thank you to each of these dispensaries for supporting our publication and welcoming us to Puerto Rico so warmly. Special thanks to Heidi Keyes for making this trip itinerary possible and Carmen Portela for hosting us so graciously.
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Michael Cassini is the founder and editor in chief of The Cannabis Cactus Magazine. He focuses on community relationships with a goal to maintain a culture of love, peace and knowledge in the cannabis industry.