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Friday, May 10, 2024

Costa Rica Grants its First license for Medical Cannabis

In a significant development for the medical cannabis industry in Costa Rica, the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), Víctor Carvajal, recently signed a resolution granting authorization to Azul Wellness S.A. to cultivate and process cannabis for medical purposes.

The Costa Rican-owned company, backed by the family of José Álvaro Jenkins, president of the Costa Rican Union of Chambers and Associations of the Private Business Sector (UCCAEP), plans to establish an 800 square meter cannabis production and processing facility in Filadelfia, Guanacaste.

Azul Wellness S.A. has partnered with Merida Capital Holdings, a reputable U.S. private equity fund specializing in medical cannabis investments. Through this collaboration, Azul Wellness aims to cultivate two varieties of psychoactive cannabis initially, with a focus on exporting the produced material. Jenkins expressed optimism about future investments from Merida Capital Holdings, envisioning the establishment of a medical cannabis laboratory in Costa Rica.

It’s worth noting that Jenkins has publicly supported the government’s efforts to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes, aligning with a bill promoted by the administration of Rodrigo Chaves.

Currently, the MAG has issued a total of nine permits, comprising eight authorizations for hemp cultivation and one license for medical cannabis. Additionally, two applications for hemp cultivation and processing and one medical cannabis license are currently under evaluation.

Under the regulation of the Ministry of Health and the MAG, the Costa Rican government maintains control over the cannabis industry, including the granting of permits for activities related to industrial hemp and medical cannabis. The MAG emphasizes that interested parties can apply for authorization for planting directly at the National Directorate of Agricultural Extension, and the procedures are free of charge.

The Law of cannabis for medical and therapeutic use and hemp for food and industrial use was signed by former President Carlos Alvarado on March 2, 2022. However, it took until October for the necessary regulations to be issued, enabling the granting of licenses.

With the latest authorization granted to Azul Wellness S.A., Costa Rica takes a significant step forward in the medical cannabis sector. The country’s favorable climate and strategic location make it a promising hub for cannabis cultivation and processing.

As the industry continues to evolve, Costa Rica has the potential to become a key player in the global medical cannabis market, benefiting the economy and providing patients with access to essential therapeutic treatments.

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