By Christopher Howard

Most baby boomers have experimented with marijuana at one time or another, especially after having lived through the 1960s. Some even continue to use pot to this day. I don’t advocate the use of drugs but have friends who smoke weed every day and lead normal and productive lives. On the other hand, I have known scores of people who have died from alcohol abuse, including my own father. Many retirees I have met over the years in Costa Rica drank themselves to death because the became bored with so much time on their hands.

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Marijuana does have its benefits. One of the major benefits associated with medicinal marijuana use is the relief of chronic or neuropathic pain. Many patients who experience nausea or vomiting due to certain diseases or treatments, such as chemotherapy get relief from marijuana. For HIV/AIDS patients trying to stay healthy in the face of appetite loss and wasting syndrome, cannabinoid drugs are a viable treatment that do not adversely affect other required medications. Cannabis contains a compound that could help Alzheimer’s disease patients. Since it increases appetite it may help treat anorexia. In some cases it may also be a viable treatment for fibromyalgia, nausea, chronic pain, arthritis, insomnia and more.

More and more states and countries have realized that marijuana is not as harmful as it was once thought to be and are legalizing it for personal use. When governments become aware of the tax benefit of growing the marijuana I am sure many will decide to legalize it to increase revenue. The Mexican government legalized personal possession of up to 5 grams of marijuana (3 joints or so), but It is not legal to buy, sell, share, or grow marijuana. Furthermore, Colombia’s Constitutional Court approved the government’s proposal to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cocaine and marijuana for personal use. Anyone caught with less than 20 grams of marijuana or one gram of cocaine for personal use may receive physical or psychological treatment depending on their “state of consumption,” but may not be prosecuted or detained, the court ruled.

In Costa Rica marijuana is still basically illegal. However, most often the police here turn a turn a blind eye to those who are caught with a little of the weed for personal use. Cultivation for sale is another story. Lately there have been a few busts for growing pot, including the use of hydroponics to do it.

There is a growing movement to legalize marijuana in Costa Rica. One organization, Cultura Cannabis, has been holding demonstrations to raise public awareness of the drug and to try to make it legal here. They want collect signatures with the goal of getting the legislature to eventually consider the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes and for personal use. One Costa Rican demonstrator remarked, “I used to suffer from asthma attacks and got no relief from traditional medicine. Marijuana did improve my condition.”

By the way, Marijuana has several names here: marijuana, mecha, monte, mota, yierba and more. Un puro is a marijuana cigarette.

I am sure that as more and more States in the U.S. And other countries opt to decriminalize the use of marijuana, Costa Rica will eventually follow suit.
This article by Christopher Howard was original published at Live in Costa Rica Blog


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