After several months on hold, the Environmental Commission of the Legislative Assembly will resume discussions this week on the bill to legalize recreational marijuana in the Costa Rica.
The proposal was rejected by the majority of the commission members, which includes three from the PLN and two from the New Republic parties. This was confirmed by Manuel Morales, a member of the ruling party.
“There are five votes against. We have already prepared the minority report to be presented to the Plenary. Some of the substitute text includes their suggestions, but they are going to vote against it,” he added.
Four members of the commission support the initiative, so they will present it to the Plenary with a minority report, hoping it can progress and be approved. “When it reaches the Plenary, I believe it can be approved. It may be tight, but I think some members of the National Liberation party will support it,” Morales stated.
Members of the Environmental Commission who would vote against the proposal include Gilberth Jiménez, Óscar Izquierdo, and Katherine Moreira from the PLN party, as well as David Segura and Rosalía Brown from the New Republic.
On the other hand, supporters include Manuel Morales from the ruling party, Daniela Rojas from the PUSC, Kattia Cambronero from the PLP, and Ariel Robles from the Frente Amplio party.
Gilbert Jiménez, the chair of the legislative body, confirmed his opposition to the project, citing many irregularities and the country’s unpreparedness to handle such legislation.
“This bill is not suitable for our country’s current situation, and we will vote against it. We’re overlooking the citizens’ interest in health protection. The country isn’t ready for this type of regulation. The project should be rejected, and we hope it doesn’t become law,” he said.
Daniela Rojas, PUSC representative, is waiting for the substitute text vote but acknowledges the division. She supports the bill, but her party hasn’t taken an official stance.
“I think the votes are close, but a minority opinion will reach the Plenary. Everything could hinge on the position of PLN party members. New Republic already announced their opposition; while PLN hasn’t made their stance public, and neither has PUSC,” she explained.
Changes are proposed to the original text, starting with renaming the initiative from “recreational marijuana” to “adult-use marijuana”. It will also set guidelines on consumption areas, similar to tobacco regulations, prohibiting use in public spaces.
Another revision involves reallocating tax revenues upon request from the Ministries of Security, Health, and the Drug Control Institute. One significant change is the removal of a provision that would have made Costa Rica a tourist destination for drug consumption.
“We also included provisions for marijuana production for adult use in free zones and removed self-cultivation,” confirmed Rojas. If the revised bill is not approved, these amendments will be pursued via motions once it reaches the Plenary.