On the Front Lines of Puerto Rico's Movement to Legalize Marijuana

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A joint between his lips, toes in the sand, Mike Martin looked like just another dude chilling on the beach in Puerto Rico. But as the 47-year-old Rastafarian blew smoke in my direction, he outlined his vision of justice: legal weed in the US territory.

"Legalization is coming," Martin told me. "The last several days have made that clear."

Martin, who sits on the board of Puerto Rico's preeminent pro-marijuana non-profit Foundation Free Juana, was referring to the government's recent moves toward decreasing its draconian weed penalties. Two weeks ago, the governor pardoned Jeremy Ruiz Tomassini, a 24-year-old man sentenced to four years in prison after cops caught him smoking near a school. The pardon, granted January 25, came 13 months after Free Juana delivered a petition to Governor Alejandro Padilla that the punishment, issued in 2014, was unreasonably harsh.

"We made an official petition and held a...

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