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Environmental Commission approves bill to legalize hemp and medicinal cannabis

Legalization of cannabis in Costa Rica could be a reality in the near future


The bill known as the Cannabis and Hemp Production Act for Medicinal Purposes (exp 21,315) has just been passed with seven votes in favour and two against in the Environmental Commission of the legislative assembly.

This project has been discussed since its proposal in May 2019 and recently, was enriched with an alternative text by Deputy José María Villalta (Frente Amplio Party) and had been accepted by members.

If approved in First Debate in the next days, hemp would be a “free crop” for industrialization and sale through a chain of commerceand the cultivation of medicinal cannabis could be used in health centres, while patients would have the possibility to grow it in their homes when it is for “medical or therapeutic” purposes.

The project was articulated so that state control is in the hands of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture (MAG). These and other public institutions would receive taxes arising from this commercial activity.

“This project is a great opportunity for our country. It will promote the generation of employment in the different phases of the production chain, permeation of all levels of employment generation, so it will stimulate the economic and social development of the most vulnerable areas that have already been severely affected by the pandemic”, says independent Deputy Zoila Volio, promoter of the project.

Final modifications

At the end of the vote, Members included a differentiated registration of cannabis products, this way the registration process before the Ministry of Health will be simplified. These institutions are also authorized to purchase raw materials so that different laboratories can process for their own products. Domestic cultivation for patients is also authorized and regulated.

As for licenses: People with criminal records related to drug trafficking will not be able to access the licenses. The price of the licenses will be allocated by the ExecutivePower. Psychoactive cannabis cultivation will be legal for agricultural producers, cantonal agricultural centres, indigenous groups, small and medium-sized producers. ­

Small industries were included who will be able to develop artisanal products to make the activity accessible to small and medium-sized producers. The investigation will be declared of national interest.





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