Deputies from Costa Rica approved this Thursday the legalization of the cultivation, production, industrialization and commercialization of hemp and medicinal cannabis, after three years of discussion of the project in Congress.
“With great satisfaction, after a very long road and multiple delays, we have the project approved,” announced the deputy who promoted the initiative, Zoila Volio.
This decision “will generate economic reactivation, will open opportunity to the country to generate investment and that is going to generate employment”, highlighted the legislator.
“But the most important thing is that chronic patients are going to get a quality drug at a reasonable price to have quality of life,” he stressed.
Volio submitted the proposal in early 2019; however, obstacles in the Legislative Assembly, with a group of deputies against, and later in the Executive Power, which did not prioritize it as urgent, made time pass with little progress.
According to activist Isaac Amador, the father of a child with cerebral palsy who consumes cannabis oil to alleviate their epilepsy, some 3,500 people in the country use products of this type for medical reasons.
As he commented, until now many of the families of these patients obtain the products clandestinely, buy them abroad, or, like him, self-produce them at home.
A study of Foreign Trade Promoter (Procomer) pointed out that by 2025 the world market for hemp and medicinal cannabis will move 35,000 million dollars a year.
In the world there are more than 20 countries that allow this activity, several in Latin America, such as Argentina, Chile, Panama, Mexico, Colombia, among others.
In Costa Rica, now all that remains is for President Carlos Alvarado to stamp his signature to convert the initiative into law.
The president, who was waiting for the vote and despite having expressed his support for the project in the past, still has the power to veto the text.
However, Volio and others of the 29 legislators who voted in favor (there were 10 against) demand that the decision of Congress be respected.
For the production of the plants and their derivatives, the producers will have to register with the State and report their activities to the authorities.
The Ministry of Agriculture (MAG) will regulate the hemp market, and the Ministry of Health that of cannabis medicinal and therapeutic.
The difference between both products is that hemp has low concentration of THC (psychoactive component).