Costa Rica to Debate Hemp and Medical Cannabis Bill

Costa Rican legislators are set to reinitiate debate over a bill (Expediente N.° 21.388) to legalize hemp and medical cannabis. The bill was cleared by the Legislative Assembly’s Environment Commission last November, but its presentation to the assembly’s plenum has been delayed.

The bill’s author is independent legislator Zoila Rosa Volio, an agronomist and lawyer, who has wielded both economic and health arguments in support of legalization. In addition to ensuring Costa Ricans’ access to cannabis treatments, the development of a cannabis industry is seen as a potential driver of growth and increased government revenues.

Under the proposed law, hemp is defined as cannabis with THC content of less than 1%. The bill differentiates between therapeutic (uso terapéutico) and medical (uso médico) products. This is interesting, as the terms cannabis terapéutico and cannabis medicinal are sometimes used interchangeably. As defined by the bill, however, therapeutic use is that for which medical supervision or authorization is not required, while medical use does require medical supervision. Despite this distinction, the terms are used in tandem throughout the bill, except in Article 13.2, which provides for licensed artisanal production of therapeutic use products only.

The bill does not establish any licensing requirements for

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