The President of Costa Rica, Charles Alvarado, partially vetoed the project that legalizes the cultivation, production and marketing of hemp and cannabis medicinal, due to possible risks to public health and citizen security, says a government statement.
The project, which was approved in Congress on January 13, was questioned by the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Security and the Costa Rican Institute on Drugs (ICD), specifically in articles that enable self-cultivation and self-consumption of cannabis.
“There are still some aspects that need to be modified. They are those that refer to issues of self-cultivation and self-consumption, which do not generate economic reactivation (…) and which would also generate risks for public health and citizen security,” Alvarado said in the notice.
The proposal of the Executive Branch is to eliminate two articles from the bill and modify one. If that happens, Alvarado promised to put his signature before the end of his government, in May.
The fear of the authorities is based on the fact that medical cannabis requires specific and technically purified doses, so it cannot be left to the free choice and artisanal production of its users, as the approved text says.
“Cannabis-derived products, which have been registered in different countries around the world, are available in dosed units, produced under appropriate manufacturing standards to guarantee their quality, safety and medical efficacy,” the authorities allege.
In addition, the Minister of Security, Michael Soto, pointed out that with the present wording of the project, one more door could be opened to drug trafficking.
“We are proposing a solution that would allow us to achieve all the objectives sought,” Alvarado said, including post-pandemic economic reactivation and care for patients with chronic conditions.
The project now returns to the Legislative Assembly, so that the deputies discuss whether or not to approve the government’s suggestions.
Otherwise, he would receive a total veto, which would bury a project that had been under discussion for three years.
The president was vehement in saying that he is not opposed to the project and that he only trusts that “the Legislative Assembly will accept these observations.”
He even added that, personally, he agrees with another project that is already being discussed in plenary, which would allow the legalization of cannabis for recreational use.
A study by the Foreign Trade Promoter (Procomer) indicated that by 2025 the hemp and medicinal cannabis market will move 35,000 million dollars a year.
In the world there are more than 20 countries that allow this activity, many of them in Latin America, such as Argentina, Chile, Panama, Mexico, Colombia, among others.
In Costa Rica, according to Isaac Amador, a medical cannabis activist, there are nearly 4,000 families that acquire products derived from the plant through their own illegal production, importation or clandestine purchase, with the intention of treating medical situations.