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The process to regulate medicinal cannabis begins in Costa Rica



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The previous week a meeting with representatives of the Ministry of Health, the Costa Rican Pro Cannabis Medicinal Foundation (FUCOCAME),  the Costa Rican Association for the Study and Intervention in Drugs (ACEID) and  to initiate the corresponding studies to regulate medicinal cannabis in Costa Rica .

The aim of the consultative initiative is to put the needs of patients first, before commercial profits, according to the consultations carried out by MCN.

“What we are doing is promoting a flexible and comprehensive regulation where there is participation of several sectors. National and international organizations have been consulted. We want the participation of patients to be pushed forward, “said Ernesto Cortés, director of ACEID.

One of the most important problems at present has to do with costs, since according to Mauricio Liscano, director of FUCOCAME, the majority of people seeking cannabis extracts do not have the resources to access them.

In this line, one of the main tasks of the commission created by the Minister of Health, Giselle Amador, aims to ensure compassionate access, that is, to guarantee access. The idea is that different forms of production and access can be given, on a large and small scale, according to the interviewees.

“FUCOCAME has been invited and is there to ensure access to medicine for patients and educate about cannabinoids, uses and medicines. It is very important that Costa Rica does not become an extension of the US or Canadian market. The important thing is that it be produced locally, “said Mauricio Liscano.

Ministry of Health tied hands

Although there are already providers in the country exclusively dedicated to helping patients, the Ministry of Health can not count on them, because of the interference of the Psychotropic Law that penalizes the commercial chain.

This leaves out some proposals such as “caregivers” who are responsible for planting, or provide some medicine in some way patients, also dispensaries.

To allow a commercial model, the ministry would require a law that eliminates the current prohibition. The law 19256 presented in 2014 and that sought to regulate the sale and dispensing of medicinal cannabis and industrial hemp was held back in the commission of legal affairs during the Solís Rivera administration. At the moment, this is not a viable option.

The Minister of Health, Giselle Amador, told MCN that the issue is still under study and there is no specific date on which the regulations will be delivered.

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