Thursday 29 September 2022

Recreational cannabis offers “a world of opportunities” in tourism, employment, investment and health for Costa Rica

Costa Rica President Rodrigo Chaves said he will present in November a bill to decriminalize recreational cannabis

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29 September 2022 - At The Banks - BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – If Costa Rica decriminalizes recreational cannabis, it will have access to “a new world of benefits and opportunities for the country,” according to businessmen and experts consulted by La Republica.

More tourists, a new source of income for the State, greater foreign investment and the generation of new jobs are some of the positive elements that would emerge from this criminal law reform.

Likewise, medicines with high concentrations of THC would be available to countless patients with diseases such as cancer, lupus, arthritis and other ailments.

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The idea was raised by President Rodrigo Chaves on August 16, when he completed 100 days in office.

And it is that the recreational cannabis industry has a world market that would range between US$15 billion and US$20 billion a year, according to Roy Thompson, president of the Council of Hemp and Cannabis of Costa Rica.

“In the United States, recreational cannabis is allowed in several states, as well as in Canada, in the same way in Europe several countries have made this decision. On the other hand, marijuana is present in practically every country in the world, albeit illegally, not now, but for centuries. By this he means to tell you that the recreational cannabis market is something like US$15 billion to US$20 billion a year,” Thompson said.

In November, President Chaves will be presenting a bill to the Legislative Assembly to decriminalize marijuana and allow its cultivation and sale to be legal.

“We believe that well-regulated recreational cannabis would translate into positive effects for the tourism industry and for health, in addition to undermining criminal structures. The medicinal and recreational cannabis industry has exponential growth every year, which would open up business opportunities and jobs. Costa Rica could produce cheaper than the United States, so we would have foreign investment”, said José Álvaro Jenkins, president of the Unión Costarricense de Cámaras y Asociaciones del Sector Empresarial Privado (UCCAEP) – Costa Rican Union of Chambers and Associations of the Private Business Sector.

At this time, Costa Rica only decriminalizes personal consumption, while the sale and cultivation is considered a criminal offense that is punishable by imprisonment.

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Conservative groups have already warned that they will be opposing the proposal. In the first instance, because it is a gateway to drug addiction and because it affects the development of young people.

“Nueva Republica has clearly said that we are against the legalization of recreational marijuana, due to the serious effect that this can have on the problem of addictions in society, so we believe that it is very unfortunate that the government is promoting it. . In the Legislative Assembly we will oppose this proposal. This issue should not be approached in terms of job creation only, but rather ethical reasons must be taken,” said David Segura, legislator of the Nueva República political party.

Legal

Marijuana has been making its way into several countries around the world.

  • Uruguay was the first country in the world to regulate the cannabis market in 2013, with the legalization of its recreational use. The population can carry and share up to 30 grams of marijuana
  • In 2021, Mexico approved the annulment of the ban on the recreational use of cannabis. The resolution establishes that marijuana can be planted, collected, transported and distributed without penalty, only when it is for personal use
  • The Senate of Canada approved in 2018 the legalization of cannabis for recreational production and consumption
  • United States. Marijuana can be s old and can be grown in Alaska, California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Colorado, Michigan, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, and Vermont, as well as Washington, D.C., New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana, Arizona, and New York.
    Georgia The country legalized the recreational use of marijuana in 2018
  • In the Netherlands, possession, consumption and sale of up to five grams of cannabis has been tolerated since 1976 in “coffee shops”
  •  Jamaica authorized the sale of marijuana for medicinal and recreational use in 2015
  • Portugal decriminalized the possession of all drugs for personal use in 2001
  • South Africa legalized in 2018 the consumption and cultivation of cannabis in private spaces
  • Malta. Possession of a maximum of seven grams of cannabis and the cultivation of four plants per person is authorized for those over 18 years of age

Source: La Republica

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