Wednesday 22 March 2023

It’s time for medical cannabis and the hemp industry in Costa Rica

The final road for the bill starts this Tuesday. Global market for marijuana-based products will be $14 billion by 2025, according to Procomer

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QCOSTARICA – After eight months of being stalled – frozen actually – like other economic revival projects, the time for the medical cannabis and hemp industry has come.

Independent legislator Zoila Volio is the proponent of the bill that would allow the development of the hemp and medical marijuana industries in Costa rica. La Republica

This Tuesday (tomorrow) the initiative will start its final road in Congress, after passing in committee and opening the space for motions, in which all legislators will have the opportunity to propose changes to the bill.

However, the most important of all is that parties such as the PLN, PUSC, and the PAC (ruling party), as well as other independent legislators, advocate approving the initiative as soon as possible and thus generate employment and productive chains.

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At this time, it cannot be predicted how long the legislators will last discussing the bill, because that will depend on the number of motions presented by other parties such as the Nueva República, which opposes everything that has to do with cannabis.

However, the political will to advance the plan exists and is taken for granted that will be approved in the coming weeks. Or months.

“For eight months this Congress was paralyzed by the government’s lack of action when proposing projects that reactivate the economy (…) Now, when the possibility of legislators establishing the agenda for debate and priorities, things change. And in that sense, there is great political will,” said Zoila Volio, independent legislator and proponent of the project.

And it is that if the legislators approve the bill that allows the commercial exploitation of industrial hemp and medicinal cannabis, national farmers and exporters would have access to a world market estimated to be US$14 billion a year by 2025, according to Costa Rica’s Foreign Trade Promoter (Procomer).

Best of all is that at the moment the products derived from this plant already drive businesses for about US$5 billion, which would allow immediate benefits to be reaped.

The medicinal use and production of cannabis and hemp is legal in more than 20 countries, with a global market before the pandemic of 1 billion people.

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In this sense, Costa Rica can become a development pole and cluster of companies.

“But it is more than that, we are talking about more investment, employment, quality of life for many and agricultural diversification. There are thousands of job opportunities,” added Volio.

Arthritis, asthma, cancer and chronic pain are some of the conditions that could be treated with medical cannabis.

As for hemp, it can be used in supplements, food, beverages, industrial application products such as bioplastics and sustainable construction, as well as dairy products, bakery, seeds, snacks, and more.

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“As of today, I can say with absolute certainty that the project known as medicinal cannabis and hemp has a will and consent so that as of August 17, which enters the plenary agenda, it can move forward immediately,” said Silvia Hernández, president of Congress.

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