Costa Rica allows cannabis cultivation for personal purposes

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A court  Costa Rica determined that if a person grows cannabis in their homes without it being for traffic purposes, it is permitted and is not a danger to public health.

This follows from Resolution No. 481-2018 of June 29, 2018.

The high judges declared inadmissible an appeal of Cassation filed by the Public Ministry against the decision of the San Ramón Criminal Court in favor of Mario Cerdas, for a cause of cultivation of more than 150 cannabis plants.

The Public Ministry alleged that the crops that were discovered in the home of the accused during 2012-2014, was for sale and not for personal consumption, as proposed by the Public Defense.

In June 2016, the San Ramón Court held the hearing on the appeal filed by the Public Prosecutor’s Office regarding the ruling issued in January 2012 for the planting of 160 cannabis plants for personal use in the attorney Mario Cerdas file.

This sentence freed the lawyer after 5 months of preventive detention, since the Public Ministry could not prove that the crop was for trafficking after numerous attempts of controlled purchases by the agents of the Judicial Investigation Agency (OIJ).

The sentence issued by the Chamber III, considers that the Public Ministry incurred a fault in the statement of the reason. That is, a failure in the motive has brought the case down:

“In the case under investigation, it is evident that the motive is incorrectly substantiated because, first of all, as it was seen, the sentences do not comply with any factual identity among themselves. Although all deal with the issue of drug cultivation, the first of them refers to the principle of Lesividad in the behavior of cultivating substances of unauthorized use, and it was determined that there is an effective injury to the public health good when it is proven that these would be distributed to different people to any title (which is nothing more than the end of traffic) “

In other words, if there is no cash in a cannabis crop, planting equipment destined for traffic and no sale of any kind is made, it is not considered a crime, since there is no harm to public health.

“We received with great satisfaction this ruling because, since the prosecution began, the Public Defense made it clear that the courts and national jurisprudence had always demanded that any crime related to drugs, required that there be a purpose of trafficking, distribution or trade”, affirmed Sebastián Mesén, public defender of Mario Cerdas.

In this way, the prosecution officially loses the battle against a citizen who was tried to charge for crimes not committed.

“We have to start with the consultations to the State, to see if they plan to regulate the self-cultivation because now it is free and users continue to be criminalized due to lack of regulation,” said Ernesto Cortés, representative of the Costa Rican Association for Study and Intervention in Drugs (ACEID).

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