The COVID-19 Pandemic has caused serious global economic consequences, and Costa Rica does not escape this situation, that is why among the steps for recovery the government is promoting the cultivation of Hemp and medicinal Cannabis.
Cannabis has always been seen as a contentious issue, but in this case, the purpose goes beyond expectations, that is reviving the economy, having greater export options, and generating new employment opportunities.
During his annual report to the nation, the President of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado, presented his plans to rebuild the economy post Coronavirus crisis. Alvarado included the cultivation of Hemp, in the plans to reactivate the productive sector, “with guarantees and security.”
The independent deputy, Zoila Rosa Volio, introduced a bill to the legislative for legalizing the medicinal use of Cannabis. The Environment Commission of the Assembly has so far kept this bill on hold. The proposition does not seek to allow the consumption of marijuana in the country, or of any other drug, but rather that the nation creates a legal framework for the planting, cultivation, production, export, and consumption of Cannabis Sativa L plants and their varieties.
At the end of 2019, specialists said that to supply just 10% of the world demand for Medical Cannabis, Costa Rica would have to produce approximately 61,865 kilograms, which represents billions of dollars.
By achieving the momentum in Cannabis and Hemp cultivation and processing, a pharmaceutical industry line could be generated, that would favor additionally, the food industry, construction materials, textiles, medicines, resins and more. According to experts, the cultivation of Hemp is compatible with the national decarbonization plan, as a substitute for synthetic plastic materials. Likewise, it is emphasized that the country has the agroecological conditions for the production of industrial Hemp.
Juan Rafael Lozano, president of the Chamber of Agriculture and Agribusiness, affirms that they have been trying to bring seedlings of this species to the country for more than five years, for use in the production of articles related to textiles. But being Hemp a plant of the same genus as Marijuana, there have been problems importing the seed, but they have met with numerable red tape such as certifications from the Drug Institute.
Hemp differs from Marijuana by not having TCH levels (component or psychoactive effect). The proposed bill establishes that both Sativa L. varieties would be cultivated only for medical purposes. Its production allows the extraction of fibers for industrial processing. It should be noted that medicinal Cannabis is legal in 21 countries with a market of 771 million people and 28 trillion dollars projected for 2021.