Costa Rican Congress Approves Medical Marijuana Bill

SAN JOSE, March 1 (Reuters) – Costa Rica’s Congress on Tuesday passed a bill that would legalize medical marijuana and the cultivation of hemp for industrial purposes, after three years of talks and a presidential veto on an earlier version of initiative.

Lawmakers from Costa Rica’s ruling party and several opposition groups approved the bill, which President Carlos Alvarado applauded as “of great benefit to Costa Rica.”

The bill aims to boost the economy of the pandemic-ridden country and reduce illegal drug demand. It will require cannabis producers to register with health institutions and accept examinations from the Costa Rican Institute of Medicines (ICD).

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The cultivation and sale of marijuana for recreational purposes will remain prohibited.

In January, Alvarado vetoed an earlier version of the law, saying it needed changes to limit individual cultivation and consumption of cannabis.

Alvarado could sign the new version into law as soon as this week, lawmaker Zoila Rosa Volio said, adding that she retained essential elements of the original legislation.

“The veto did not affect the key elements of this proposal, which will bring in investment, generate jobs, allow access to millionaire markets and reactivate the agricultural sector,” Volio said.

The country’s trade promotion group, Procomer, has recommended that Costa Rica enter the medical marijuana and hemp industries due to growing international demand.

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Reporting by Alvaro Murillo; Written by Kylie Madry; Editing by Leslie Adler

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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