Monday 6 February 2023

Recreational marijuana bill authorizes ICT to promote Costa Rica as a destination for responsible consumption

IAFA clinical psychologist indicated that this would be a social and even global experiment

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QCOSTARICA – The bill to legalize the use of recreational marijuana in Costa Rica authorizes the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT) – Costa Rican Tourism Board –  to promote the country as a destination for responsible consumption.

This is established in article 52 of initiative 23,383 that is being analyzed by the legislative commission on the environment (Comisión de Ambiente del Congreso).

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Specifically, it indicates:

“The Instituto Costarricense de Turismo should establish information campaigns at the international level to promote Costa Rica as a tourist destination for the responsible consumption of cannabis for recreational use.”

Legislative reactions

For legislator David Segura, this is worrisome, since tourism focuses on another sector, particularly family.

Segura took advantage of the hearing held with spokesmen for the Institute of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (IAFA) to see if this promotion would be detrimental to the country.

Paula Picado, IAFA clinical psychologist, indicated that this would be a social and even global experiment.

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Picado warned that if authorized, it must be analyzed whether the services of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) have the capacity to receive foreign tourists who could be affected by consumption.

“Because it may be that they come from other cities or countries but, with regulation based on a specific concentration of THC and with this (the bill), an excessive form of THC concentration opens up.

“There is no cap and it would imply more risk if we see it as possible clients at the tourism level. We could not assure you that they will not have repercussions at the health and mental level,” she warned.

Likewise, the IAFA psychologist pointed out that it could affect the community level in the sense that national or foreign minors can consume this product or be exposed to smoke.

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For her part, Wendy Castro, interim director of IAFA, focused on the fact that said entity would be concerned about the regulation of the type of advertising that would be projected.

“They have to be clearly defined elements to face consumption in a more informed way,” she highlighted.

Read more: Police raid marijuana cultivation laboratory in Heredia

Does not encourage consumption

From the ruling party, the Partido Progreso Social Democrático (PPSD), legislator Manuel Morales defended that this bill does not seek to promote consumption. Rather, he said, it is intended to guarantee the product for those who already use marijuana.

In this way, it is intended that the market be managed by “entrepreneurs” and honest people, based on products labeled with information, which will generate economic chaining.

With respect to advertising, he recalled that this regulatory framework is left to legislators to endorse or prohibit.

“Inclusively, I would not agree to advertising about cannabis consumption, this project does not encourage consumption, it only wants to give security to those who are already consumers,” he declared.

The bill is still under discussion in this legislative forum and when the hearings and the consultations for and against are finished, a debate must begin prior to its opinion.


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