When Puerto Rican governor Alejandro García Padilla said earlier this year that the U.S. territory should legalize marijuana, there was online chatter from pro-weed advocates speculating whether Puerto Rico could become the next Colorado, with marijuana taxes creating the revenue the debt-ridden island desperately needs. Yet what most people overlooked was how one island legislator (who doesn’t smoke weed, by the way) has been pushing a bill for the decriminalization of marijuana since 2013. That bill could be put to a vote right now and get the ball rolling on the loftier goal of making weed legal on La Isla del Encanto.
That senator’s name is Miguel Pereira, a member of García Padilla’s Popular Democratic Party out of the Guayama district. As part of Latino USA’s #WeedWeek collaboration with Remezcla, I spoke with Pereira about the status of his bill, why it hasn’t passed and whether drug policy attitudes are changing on the island. Above, check out the 11-minute interview we had over the phone.
Weed Week was a cross-platform collaboration with Remezcla and Latino USA. All week long, we dove into the many ways cannabis culture and policy intersect with Latino communities, leading up to Latino USA’s marijuana-themed episode “Smoked Out.”