HEALTH

New regulation in Puerto Rico allows for use of medical marijuana

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 11:  Jars full of medical marijuana are seen at Sunset Junction medical marijuana dispensary on May 11, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The dispensary is one 25 plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles fighting to stay open after city prosecutors began notifying 439 medical marijuana dispensaries that they must shut down by June 7.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 11: Jars full of medical marijuana are seen at Sunset Junction medical marijuana dispensary on May 11, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The dispensary is one 25 plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles fighting to stay open after city prosecutors began notifying 439 medical marijuana dispensaries that they must shut down by June 7. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)  (2010 Getty Images)

Puerto Rico's Health Department has adopted a regulation that will allow for the cultivation, manufacturing and distribution of medical marijuana in the U.S. territory.

Officials say the substance can be used in forms including pills, creams, patches and oral drops. Authorities stress that smoking marijuana and cultivating it for personal use remains illegal.

The Health Department said Thursday that it will implement a seed-to-sale inventory tracking system. It will also award licenses to doctors and to private companies that seek to cultivate and manufacture medicinal marijuana. Officials say samples must be sent to independent labs to ensure they contain the correct amounts of THC and are free of contaminants.

Public Affairs Secretary Jesus Manuel Ortiz says the system should be in place by year's end.

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