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Costa Rica Plans to Modify Recreational Marijuana Bill

The Costa Rican government is set to present a substitute text to the recreational marijuana bill after obtaining feedback from different institutions.

According to Natalia Diaz, Minister of the Presidency, the document will be developed in coordination between several entities, specifically: the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Costa Rican Drug Institute (ICD).

“We will include the general observations that several institutions have made. The idea is to present a new draft to resolve the issues,” she commented.

The original plan states that companies that grow or industrialize cannabis for recreational purposes will be able to operate under the Free Trade Zone regime. Consumers could go to clubs, coffee shops, and other businesses to buy these products.

The Judicial Investigation Organism (OIJ), the Medical Association, the College of Psychiatrists, the Institute of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction (IAFA), the Evangelical Alliance Federation, and some municipalities expressed their opposition and asked for its dismissal.

In addition, the Episcopal Association strongly opposed the legalization of marijuana.

“The benefits this project could bring are hypothetical and aren’t built upon a solid foundation. In contrast, science has consistently demonstrated the widespread harms of cannabis use,” they pointed out.

However, other institutions favor the proposal presented by the current administration. For instance, the Municipality of Curridabat supports the project, as it would help eliminate drug trafficking and turn it “into a productive activity,” which would help the economy.

Roy Thompson, president of the Hemp and Cannabis Council of Costa Rica, mentioned that the recreational cannabis market is estimated at $15 billion to $20 billion yearly.

Other businessmen expressed their support as they consider there will be “a new world of benefits and opportunities for the country.”

Meanwhile, 76.5 percent of Ticos approve the use of cannabis for medicinal and therapeutic purposes. Still, only 35.4 percent support the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes, as evidenced by a survey conducted by the School of Statistics of the University of Costa Rica (UCR).

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