New developments about Cannabis laws in Costa Rica
In the last few weeks, Chaves Robles administration has signed the Regulations of the Law on Cannabis for Medicinal and Therapeutic Use and sent to the Legislative Assembly, the Cannabis Control and Regulation Bill so
In the last few weeks, Chaves Robles administration has signed the Regulations of the Law on Cannabis for Medicinal and Therapeutic Use and sent to the Legislative Assembly, the Cannabis Control and Regulation Bill so that recreational use is legal and possible in Costa Rica.
During the 100-day report, he stated that the regulation of industrial hemp for medicinal use and the promotion of the bill for the legalization of recreational marijuana, will be part of his priorities, however a timeframe wasn’t included in his speech.
Medicinal and Therapeutic Use
On September 30th, during a visit to Puntarenas, Costa Rican president Rodrigo Chaves and government representatives such as the Minister of Health, Joselyn Chacón, the Minister of the Presidency, Natalia Díaz and the Minister of Agriculture, Víctor Carvajal, signed the regulation of Industrial Hemp and Medical CBD.
“This decree seeks to promote economic and social development through the production, industrialization and commercialization of cannabis on Costa Rican soil” confirmed the press release from Casa Presidencial.
One of the main goals of being part of the cannabis market is to attract national and foreign investment to achieve a better economic reactivation, which will imply expanding the current available jobs in agriculture. It will also provide innovative treatments for thousands of people with conditions such as cancer, arthritis, asthma and chronic pain.
“The CBD market is worth only $60 billion a year, we must take advantage of it, get to work and export,” Chaves said after signing the decree.
On March, the Legislative Assembly approved the Costa Rican Law on Cannabis for Medicinal and Therapeutic Use and Hemp for Food and Industrial Use (Law 10.113) that authorizes the production of hemp and cannabis for medical, therapeutic, food and industrial use.
For the administration, this is an issue of public health and criminality, it is a priority for the political agenda, since currently possession of marijuana is illegal, but its personal use is not criminalized, and the fact is that it is openly consumed in streets and parks. That’s why on October 5, the bill (file 23.383) to legalize recreational marijuana in the country was sent to the Legislative Assembly.
“This bill aims to legalize, control and regulate the legal consumption, cultivation, production and commercialization of cannabis for recreational purposes,” explained the President of Costa Rica, Rodrigo Chaves Robles.
Also, it is expected to regulate their lucrative activities, the payment of their taxes and the generation of greater employment opportunities related to the sector.
The government believes that with the approval of this law, consumers will be able to acquire marijuana safely, without exposing themselves to violence, drug trafficking and will also have access to a product regulated by the health authorities.
However, Chaves understands that there is great opposition among the congressmen (diputados). He requests that the issue should be analyzed, as it deserves national scrutiny and debate, in order to follow the path of rational countries.
The law would authorize the possession for personal consumption -for people over 18 years of age- of up to 30 grams of marijuana, which is equivalent to approximately 25 to 30 cigarettes.
In addition, the initiative authorizes a person to grow -without requiring a license-, up to 6 cannabis plants for recreational purposes in a family home (casa de habitación), as long as it is not for marketing or profit.
The project authorizes the creation of social clubs for recreational use of cannabis. Its legal use will also be permitted in commercial establishments such as cafeterias, where cannabis derivatives can be distributed at retail only for edible or drinkable consumption.
Additionally, the Ministry of Health will authorize dispensary businesses to sell cannabis and its derivatives for recreational use. The conditions of sale, as well as the granting of licenses, will be regulated by the same entity.
Is it a priority?
According to data (2019) from Prohibition Partners and the Costa Rican Institute on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (IAFA), 3.2% of the Costa Rican population are frequent cannabis users. It is the sixth country with the most consumers, the first one of the region being Argentina with 21.8%.
Currently, Uruguay is the only country in Latin America where the recreational use of marijuana has been legalized. On the other hand, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay and Peru, allowed the medicinal consumption of cannabis.