Costa Rica Congress Passes Medical Cannabis Legalization

Costa Rica’s Congress voted to legalize cannabis for medical use despite opposition from President Carlos Alvarado.

Full story after the jump.

Costa Rica’s Congress on Tuesday voted to legalize cannabis for medical use despite opposition from President Carlos Alvarado, Reuters reports. Independent lawmaker Zoila Volio told Reuters that she trusts Alvarado understands the reforms will not increase cannabis use in the nation and will not veto the law.

The law also includes hemp law reforms, which would allow the plant to be cultivated in Costa Rica, according to a QCostaRica report.

Under the law, the Ministry of Agriculture is charged with regulating the hemp industry, while the Ministry of Health will be in charge of medical cannabis. Producers of both hemp and medical cannabis will have to register and provide information to the authorities about their activities with the Health and Agriculture agencies and the Costa Rican Institute on Drugs having inspection and industry control powers.

The plan also authorizes the sale of raw materials for medical and therapeutic cannabis to the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS), along with authorized laboratories, for the development of drugs that require it, according to QCostaRica.

According to the Costa Rican News, the bill calls for a 1% tax on income obtained from the sale of medical cannabis. Hemp cultivation licenses will be free with 30% of those licenses earmarked for small farms and cooperatives. Both medical cannabis and hemp producers may set up their operations in the nation’s so-called Free Zones, which offer some economic benefits.

Individuals will also be permitted to cultivate their own cannabis as long as they can prove it is for medical or therapeutic use.

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