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Marijuana Oversupply Floods Costa Rica

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01 April 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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QCOSTARICA ( Marijuana, the most widely consumed illegal drug in Costa Rica, began to flood the country about three years ago with an oversupply that confronts criminal organizations, which are fighting to dominate the local marijuana.

Last February authorities seized half a ton of marijuana and 641 kilos of cocaine in Sierpe de Osa. The entry of marijuana through the Pacific is becoming more frequent. (MSP)

This invasion of marijuana that comes from Colombia aboard ships that enter through the Pacific, competes with the one that traditionally arrives from Jamaica through the Caribbean.

The fact that it enters from another area, at a cheaper price and with a quality similar to Jamaican, causes this dispute generated between criminal groups that try to sell in other territories and that is where the confrontations arise. This abundance of drugs, warns Rándall Zúñiga, interim director of the Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ) is one of the main factors that affects the excessive increase in homicides.

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Beyond the traditional shipments of cocaine, which are mostly destined for re-export to Europe and the United States, from one moment to the next, the coast guard began to notice that drug boats brought marijuana or arrived with mixed shipments.

Where cocaine is mostly for export, much of the marijuana is for the local market.

In addition to this, last year a shipment of three tons of marijuana from Mexico was seized in a trailer, alerting to a possible new drug route.

The local production of marijuana, mainly in the mountains of Talamanca de Limón and Buenos Aires de Puntarenas, as well as in controlled environments in houses throughout the country, also persists, but this local drug tends to have a lower content of the psychoactive component or THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and makes it less competitive in relation to the others.

According to the 2019 report of the Instituto Costarricense sobre Drogas (ICD) – Costa Rican Institute on Drugs, 3.2% of Costa Rica’s population consumes marijuana, according to a survey carried out by that entity in 2015.

The age group that consumes it the most is between 20 and 29 years old. Of these, 42% revealed in the ICD survey that they get it in the neighborhood, 22% in bars, and 12% in other people’s houses.

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Finally, international trafficking organizations, which were previously foreign to Costa Rica, are now mostly headed by Costa Ricans in charge of the entire process, from the purchase in South American countries to the transfer by sea, land, and air to local warehouses, and the subsequent export camouflaged amid main products exported to places in Europe and the United States.

Read the original article in Spanish in La Nacion

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