Cannabis & Culture Magazine

Mario Cerdas vs. the Prosecutor’s Office: Persecution or justice?

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The Alajuela prosecutor’s office did not like that Mario Cerdas, a 60-year-old growing lawyer, firmly affirmed the right to grow cannabis domestically for self-consumption.

Cerdas who, according to him, “wanted to prove that in Costa Rica this is a constitutional right”, changed the course of cannabis history in Costa Rica forever and won in 2018 one of the most important cases related to this issue.

Resolution No. 481-2018 of the Courts of Justice absolves him of charges because the analysis of the law determines, in simple words, that the conduct exercised by the citizen does not harm the right to public health. The criminal drug law (law 8402) had always been exercised to attack illegal sale, but not cultivation.

This undoubtedly opens a new legal scenario, but also a dangerous one.

Readers will know that a year after the courts acquitted the lawyer, the Prosecutor’s Office knocked down his gates again on August 8, 2019, now to accuse him of “transformation, supply and storage.

This week they announced that there will soon be a trial against Cerdas who will almost complete a year of being in preventive detention.

Banning horticultural agriculture runs counter to the constitutional right to agriculture. (art.46 1948) and a universal right. Prosecutors on behalf of the State have assigned themselves the role of deciding on the relationship that humans have – in this case – with plants.

The Office of the Prosecutor has acted so that public opinion believes that something normal like spending millions of colones to justify a persecution against a vulnerable individual in society.

Mario Cerdas demonstrated that the State cannot limit nature. Costa Rica has in itself 6% of the world’s biodiversity. Punishing the right to agriculture is unnatural given our conditions.

It is not necessary to believe in conspiracy theories to conclude that the authorities seek to establish a historical precedent that leaves traumatic consequences in the structures of society.

What they do not understand is that the greatest harm to the country is not planting a medicinal, industrial and food plant recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO), the greatest harm being its own stigma.

As the lawyer Sebastián Mesén once said: “People like or dislike it – and they probably don’t like it – cannabis is a plant – and plant it as an act of agriculture. It will never cease to be, even if we classify it as a drug.

Political constitution.

Art. 46
Monopolies of a particular nature are prohibited, and any act, even if it originated in a law, that threatens or restricts the freedom of commerce, agriculture and industry. It is in the public interest the action of the State aimed at preventing any monopolizing practice or tendency. Companies established in monopolies must in fact be subject to special legislation. To establish new monopolies in favor of the State or the Municipalities will require the approval of two thirds of all the members of the Legislative Assembly.
Consumers and users have the right to the protection of their health, environment, security and economic interests, to receive adequate and truthful information; freedom of choice, and fair treatment. The State will support the organisms that they constitute for the defense of their rights. The law will regulate those matters.

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