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 two:00 PM native time on November 5, Delgado has not conceded the race. However, the results to date counsel that the island’s subsequent governor will likely be Pedro Pierluisi, who beforehand served as Puerto Rico’s congressional delegate. While in Congress, Pierluisi caucused with the Democrats, however his principal affiliation is with the pro-statehood New Progressive Party (PNP).

At first look, a Pierluisi administration doesn’t seem to bode effectively for hashish legalization. Back in 2015, Pierluisi expressed “concern” over then-Gov. Alejandro García Padilla’s govt order legalizing medical hashish. In 2013, he plainly said he was in opposition to hashish decriminalization.

Of course, 5 or seven years are a very long time in politics, particularly on the subject of points the place public opinion is fast-shifting. It is subsequently attainable Pierluisi’s views on hashish have developed since then. However, there is no such thing as a indication of such a shift within the public document.

At this stage, it’s onerous to ascertain any impetus for hashish reform from the governor’s mansion. The legislature, nevertheless, is perhaps a distinct story. Delgado’s get together, the Popular Democratic Party (PPD) seems set to take a higher variety of seats than the PNP in each chambers, plus there will likely be a higher third-party presence than in years previous; the PPD might must work along with these events to realize working majorities. Alexandra Lúgaro, the chief of one of many newly represented events, is brazenly in favor of hashish legalization, as is the chief of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP), Juan Dalmau (the PIP has been round since 1946, however beneath Dalmau it’s gubernatorial vote grew sixfold).

Overall, forces exterior the normal PNP-PPD duopoly had an unprecedentedly sturdy displaying on this yr’s elections. Pierluisi will certainly pay attention to the actual fact he was elected with round 33% of the vote, in comparison with the 42% obtained by former Gov. Ricardo Rosselló in 2016. Lúgaro took over 14% of the vote and Dalmau was not far behind, whereas one other third-party candidate gained an extra 7% of the vote, displaying a rising want for nontraditional political options. It is cheap to anticipate Pierluisi will look for methods to counter this rising tide. At a minimal, it might give him pause earlier than opposing measures in search of to legalize leisure hashish.

Even inside the PNP there is perhaps adjustments. As extra U.S. states—even extremely conservative ones—welcome leisure hashish, the pro-statehood get together might more and more heat as much as legalization.

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