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Costa Rica’s Constitutional Court Approves Cannabis Legalization Bill

Costa Rica is now one step closer in legalizing domestic cannabis. On December 1, the country’s constitutional court, known as “Sala IV,” found nothing in the legislation that was originally passed on October 21 that would prevent it from becoming law. With 33 votes in favor and 13 against, the Legislative Assembly approved the bill at first.

This is a significant step. Costa Rica’s law project 21.388, entitled the “Law on Cannabis for medicinal and therapeutic use and Hemp for industrial use” was first approved in late October by the legislative assembly. Instead of moving directly to the second vote, however, 10 members of the legislative assembly sent the in-progress statute to the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court to be reviewed. This was primarily to stop its passage.

Just the day before the bill was initially passed, on October 20, Panama, the country’s neighbour to the south, finally legalized medical cannabis too. It is very likely that this move prompted Costa Rica’s brief sidestep.

Costa Rica: What’s next?

Legislator Zoila Volio asked President Carlos Alvarado for permission to summon the initiative to be considered by the Legislative Assembly. The Minister of the Presidency, Geannina Dinarte has already said publicly that the bill would be summoned to an “extraordinary session” for a vote now that the court ruling has been passed down.

Since two years, Reform is pending.

Since August this year, one company is allowed to research the feasibility of cannabis.

Costa Rica Cannabis Tourism Trade on the Verge

Costa Rica is known for its cannabis availability and decriminalization. Although cannabis production is still illegal, possession of marijuana has been made legal. The Costa Rican Narcotic Drug Act provides for eight- to fifteen year sentences for cultivation, manufacturing and possession.

A country in Central America with just over five million inhabitants, it is bordered by Panama and Nicaragua to the North and Panama the South. This has been an attractive destination for retirees from the USA who want to live a lifestyle that’s more laid back.

1948 saw the end of the nation’s army. As of 1949, all budgeted funds that would have been allocated to the country’s defense were rerouted to providing health care services and education. Costa Rica has a reputation for having stable democracy, progressive social policies, and a strong economy.

The country would be able to have a regulated cannabis industry that would provide income and jobs for its residents, as well as make it one of the top medical marijuana vacation destinations in the world.

Costa Rica borders the Pacific and Caribbean. Much of Costa Rica is covered in lush rainforests. The country is the top-ranked destination in Central America. People visit it because of its biodiversity and for the exotic ecotourism experiences.

The results will be extremely positive if you include cannabis.

This area of the world may offer opportunities to improve the environment and the potential for ecological development.

Sustainable Cannabis

The discussion about what constitutes “sustainable” practices in this industry are an ongoing debate. There are many ways to approach this idea—from efficient grow and processing operations to labor relations.

To compete in the global medical market, cannabis must be produced to a higher pharmaceutical standard (GMP), than other crops. These crops cannot be grown outdoors. Therefore, it is possible that, from a property perspective, South America’s development might be highly disruptive. See Brazil for starters.

Costa Rica’s liberal approach to conserving rainforests may allow this model to survive in an environment that is not first world.

No matter the difficulties of tomorrow as the industry develops, one thing is very clear with the forward motion of Costa Rica’s legalization of cannabis. Another “green domino” has fallen.