Puerto Rico Betting on Medical Marijuana to Help Ease Crisis

Jesus Aponte pushes a door open to reveal hundreds of aromatic, spiky green plants, a crop that Puerto Rico hopes will help it ease a grinding economic crisis by generating millions in revenue and tens of thousands of jobs.

Aponte, a 29-year-old biologist and chemical engineer, had been thinking of joining the wave of young Puerto Rican professionals heading to the U.S. to seek work — an exodus that has aggravated the U.S. territory’s woes. But then he saw the saw the island’s medical marijuana industry start to expand, and found one of the rare new jobs opening up on the island, overseeing some 2,000 plants at the Natural Ventures facility.

“This is an economic niche that we can grab on to,” he said, though he added, “A lot of people told me, ‘What are you doing with your life? You’re throwing away your future.”‘

But like more than two...

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