Friday 29 September 2023

Political pressure grows for medical marijuana and hemp

Legislators ask the president to present the bill; They argue that the opportunity to generate employment and investment is being lost

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QCOSTARICA -A group of legislators is pressuring the government to take advantage of the current period of extraordinary sessions to process the legislation that regulates the market for medical marijuana and hemp.

Legislators Paola Valladares and Zoila Volio sent a letter to President Carlos Alvarado urging him to convene the bill on hemp and medical marijuana

They asked President Carlos Alavarado for consistency with the promise he made at the beginning of the pandemic to promote these activities as part of the economic reactivation agenda.

They also consider it contradictory that legislation that encourages exploitation and commercialization for medicinal and industrial purposes is not promoted, when the Government has spent months investing in the study of varieties of the cannabis plant.

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The call to action comes from legislators of various political factions, including the ruling party, who believe that the opportunity to create a new industry in the country that generates investment and employment should be seized.

In a recent letter sent to the president, legislators Paola Valladares, of the PLN and independent Zoila Volio, urged Alvarado to consider mainly the potential of the activity.

The two opposition legislators agree with the ruling party’s Paola Vega that the prejudices on the issue, such as damage to health, should be left behind and put in the balance with the benefits they generate.

In the same sense, the PLN legislator Roberto Thompson said, who sees contradictory that the government advances with the harvest and research of cannabis and does not manage the bill that regulates the activity.

So far the position of the Executive has not been clear. While the Instituto Nacional de Innovación y Transferencia de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA) – National Institute for Innovation and Transfer of Agricultural Technology – investigates the varieties of cannabis, Renato Alvarado, Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) has done a turn about-face, now supporting regulation and exploitation of the plant.

“In the midst of so much contradiction and lack of clarity, we continue to lose opportunities, investment, fresh tax revenue and employment!” Thompson lamented.

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Costa Rica remains undecided about cannabis at a time when the United Nations removed it from its list of dangerous drugs, Mexico discusses its recreational use and in our country the first social club for consumers of the plant is born.

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

The global market for hemp-based products is estimated at almost US$2 billion, with a growth of 57% in the 2016-2020 period, while if medical cannabis is included it would amount to much more.

Even investors from the United States, Canada and Germany are watching the progress of cannabis research in Costa Rica, as confirmed by Arturo Solórzano, director of INTA, last November.

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