Puerto Rico is drowning in a sea of debt more than $74 billion deep, and many on the Caribbean island see legal cannabis as a potential lifeline.
The sunny Caribbean island of Puerto Rico is facing some dark financial times: Large companies fled the island for friendlier tax laws, creating a deficit that the resource-rich, industry-poor territory has been unable to fill. Puerto Ricans — about 45 percent of whom live at or below the poverty line — are following suit: The island’s population has fallen by 400,000 people, to 3.4 million, in no small part because unemployment here (12 percent) is almost triple what it is back in the full-fledged USA (4.3 percent).
Above all, Puerto Rico is more than $74 billion in debt to creditors it cannot pay and has $50 billion in pension obligations it cannot fulfill. There are assertions that up to half of the debt is “illegal” — the result of toxic Wall Street tricks of the kind that engineered the Great Recession — but the weight of the financial obligation remains.