Meet the Senator Who Wants to Decriminalize Marijuana in Puerto Rico

forbidden flower

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 is a cross-platform collaboration with our friends at Latino USA. All week long, we’ll be diving into the many ways cannabis culture and policy intersect with Latino communities – leading up to Latino USA’s marijuana-themed episode “Smoked Out,” airing on Friday.