Lawmakers Push for Cannabis Legalization in Costa Rica
August 12th, 2014
Policy, Top News
Citizen Action Party (“PAC”) lawmakers aim to make Costa Rica the first country in Central America to legalize medical marijuana and generate millions of dollars for public institutions. During a press conference, PAC lawmaker Marvin Atencio presented his bill to regulate the production of medical marijuana and hemp in Costa Rica, which is backed by significant clinical research.
“Several scientific studies have demonstrated the potential for cannabis to treat illnesses like AIDS, cancer, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis,” said Atencio during the conference, according to TicoTimes, a leading Costa Rican newspaper and online media publication. “For the health of thousands of potential patients a law is needed that adequately regulates medical production and cultivation of the plant.”
The bill would stop short of legalizing marijuana on a recreational basis and would be required to meet existing laws governing the use of cannabis. Under its terms, the bill would create an institute housed within the Health Ministry to supervise the drug’s usage, while patients would be issued a registration card by the institute and costs would be covered by the “Caja” social security system.
However, medical marijuana cultivation would be done by the private sector via private concessions available for purchase. The largest would be $150,000 for four years, which would permit as much as a metric ton of cannabis to be produced for medical purposes, along with two smaller concessions. Cannabis available for sale would be taxed at a 7% rate and could generate $20 million in annual tax revenue.
“Costa Rica would be one of the few countries in the world with an appropriate regulatory infrastructure, [and] in the medium and long term we would become a global reference point,” added Mr. Atencio.
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