Lawyer Cerdas is not accused of selling or distributing cannabis
This post is also available in: Español
Mario Cerdas, lawyer and cannabis grower is probably a key player of you’re looking to understand the current situation of cannabis cultivation for personal use.
For years, the lawyer studied the details related to the law to prove in court that a home grow without the intention of trafficking is not a typified felony on the constitution. Rather it can be use for locals for its therapeutic, nutritional, or spiritual qualities.
The Public Prosecutor's Office is against abandoning this criminal case and for this reason will face trial in the upcoming weeks.
Although he had already been acquitted in 2018 for this reason, the authorities publicly attacked him again. He is currently in prison for more than a year. Awaiting his trial, Cerdas ensures that there is no evidence to that would link him with any crime.
MCN spoke exclusively to the lawyer from prison:
Listen to the audio interview: https://spoti.fi/34YZUjP
Almost a year after being in prison, how does Mario Cerdas feel?
13 months. The trial was scheduled for August, but due to the positive COVID-19 cases, it would be on October 26 or November 33.
The prison is exhausting. It have been many months of torture from the Public Ministry who has been punishing me as much as possible with this pre-trial detention that has been the rudest thing they could’ve done.
So, from that point of view, you're human, it wears out for a while. But there is also an instilled in the conviction that no crime has been committed and that there have been many irregularities in their process. I haven't been given the opportunity to talk about my side of the story.
How do you live with the pandemic in prison?
As for COVID-19 no protocol was established or was mild late. When and the first cases began to occur, very quickly, all the forecasts that the authorities had here overflowed and practically left this free.
That's why we the inmates, since July there were almost the 100% people with the virus. At least, here in Virilla, a lot of people got sick. Even my person, only in my case it gave me very mild symptoms. But there was a lot in other spaces of prison. There was an outbreak of violence because medical authorities weren’t sufficient enough.
They could not isolate more people as the spaces they had destined for this were already saturated then people were left in the pavilions where they had always been.
At this point, we already have days where no new outbreaks appear.
How has the situation affected you at the family level??
Look, first and foremost my job. I am a person who live off my job and this has affected me greatly from the point of view, economical and then my family. I still have with a daughter who is starting college. This has affected me a lot. The economic part has been a serious thing, so I'm looking forward to this nightmare happening as soon as possible.
What do you think of that while you are going through this situation, politicians talk about legalizing hemp and medical cannabis?
I would say it would be a very good thing. May more public officials participate in these initiatives in Costa Rica and see the development of the production of the cannabis sativa plant in all aspects.
Because it is not only food or medicine, but also industrial as an activity that comes to give a new opportunity for development that this country needs urgently.
I would like to cross my fingers for authorities to approve this project as widely as possible and it is a new activity that might help Costa Rica to overcome this profound crisis in which we are, because if this were seen as it should be seen here, there is no doubt that it would be just for the better. Just give it the right development.
The repression of the cannabis sativa plant is an important factor that has the prison with more people than it should be here. I believe that if this were to be develop it would also be a factor in reducing the overcrowding of prisons and for them to integrate in a legal and healthy way into this agricultural activity.
Tell us in your own words what happened. This is the opportunity.
Well, I started from 2013 what I considered after doing many studies from a biological and legal point of view also to grow cannabis and in a short time this became more and more passionate and the more studies I became more interested.
I always saw it as an opportunity for health and as a dietary supplement that we should take advantage of because we well know that in 2013 and insubsequent years it was when it began to have other perspectives in other countries to normalize or regulate the cultivation of cannabis and take advantage of it.
Ever since I started I always did it for the right purpose of making the most of it. However, this conduct of mine was never well received by any authority especially from the Public Prosecutor's Office.
And that's where my problem was about having to deal with a public prosecutor's office that owns the state’s repressive part. And they deployed this whole repressive machine against me.
The trial I faced at the end of 2014 and ended with an acquittal sentence on January 19, 2015, this trial ended with a sentence of June 30, 2018. During that time I continued to grow the plant virtually without any worries. When that was given I continued with the same conduct of study and use of the plant. Personally, I discovered many ways to take advantage of it as food and medicine. And they, a month after that constitutional chamber resolution, began the persecution and hunting against me, of which I was innocent. I didn't know that situation was taking place.
The only thing is that since my conduct was always of cultivation for my own benefit, because I was never concerned that this could be given because I had already passed a sentence that clearly said and admitted that the crime in cases where there was cultivation for trafficking purposes.
And since my purposes were totally contrary to the traffic of the plant rather we could say that they counteracted it to the extent that they allowed the people who needed to make use of the plant to do so because it was to combat drug trafficking.
However, that has not been the position or thesis of the Public Prosecutor's Office and they began with a growing persecution and speculated that I might be linked to the activity of drug trafficking and those speculations began to get bigger between the judicial investigators and the Public Prosecutor's Office to the point that they asked for telephone interventions to find out how the criminal group that supposedly integrated or directed me operated.
See who had responsibilities or money. However, none of these public prosecutor's theories could be verified until they decided to accuse me of what had been accused four years ago.
With the small variant now to say that the crop I had was for distribution purposes or free supply, because they do not accuse me of marijuana trafficking, but accuse me of a distribution that I believe nobody in this country has never been accused of.
If someone is accused of the crime of growing plants for or giving away plants or flowers, I believe that in the history of this country we do not have a precedent that they now want to establish.
Did you help sick people?
Read the second part:
This post is also available in: Español
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