President of Costa Rica vetoes medical marijuana legalization over public health risks

The President of Costa Rica, Charles Alvarado, the project that legalizes the cultivation, production and marketing of hemp and hemp, in part medicinal cannabis, due to potential risks to public health and civil security, says a government statement.

The project, which was approved in Congress on January 13, has been questioned by the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Safety and the Costa Rican Institute of Drugs (ICD), specifically in articles enabling self-cultivation and self-consumption of marijuana.

“There are still some aspects that need to be changed. These are those that refer to issues of self-cultivation and self-consumption, which do not generate economic reactivation (…) and which will also generate risks for public health and citizens. Security, ”Alvarado said in the notice.

The proposal of the Executive Branch is to eliminate two articles from the bill and amend one. If that happens, Alvarado has promised to sign it before the end of his term in May.

The fear of the authorities is based on the fact that medical cannabis requires specific and technically purified doses, and therefore it can not be left to the free choice and artisanal production of its users, as the approved text says.

“Cannabis-derived products, registered in various countries around the world, are available in metered units, manufactured according to appropriate manufacturing standards to guarantee their quality, safety and medical efficacy,” the authorities claim.

In addition, the Minister of Safety, Michael Soto, pointed out that with the current wording of the project, another door to drug trafficking could be opened.

“We are proposing a solution that will make it possible to achieve all the goals that are sought,” Alvarado said, including post-pandemic economic reactivation and care for patients with chronic conditions.

The project now returns to the Legislative Assembly, so delegates discuss whether or not to approve the government’s proposals.

Otherwise, he would get a total veto, burying a project that had been under discussion for three years.

The president was vehement in saying that he was not opposed to the project and that he only trusted that “the Legislative Assembly will accept these observations.”

He even added that he personally agrees with another project already being discussed in the plenary session, which makes the legalization of marijuana for recreational use possible.

A study by the Foreign Trade Promoter (Procomer) indicated that the hemp and medicinal cannabis market will move $ 35,000 million a year by 2025.

There are more than 20 countries in the world 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 who obtain products derived from the plant through their own illegal production, importation or secret purchase, with the aim of treating medical situations.

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