Cannabis Legal Loopholes in Costa Rica Creates Unnecessary Troublesome Issues

Cannabis users in Costa Rica pay almost ten times more for every gram, obtained from illegal sources, compared to places near their border. The information was presented by comparing prices for the two typical ways of selling this product in Colombia, Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina, El Salvador, Uruguay, Germany, and New York.

Surprisingly, while in the Colombian market, a gram of hydroponic type Cannabis (Cripa or Cripi) is paid between $ 0.5 and USD 2.5, in Costa Rica, the price established for some years by illegal producers is approximately USD 20.

No country in the region presents this type of price premium and the only comparable place is the regulated market in New York where such a gram is around USD 15.  Another source consulted reports that the price on the streets of Germany is around USD 10. As for what is called Pressed or Paraguayan Cannabis, as it is known in South America, prices remain high.

This type of product has different routes of distribution. Especially from the producing countries: Mexico, Jamaica, and Colombia. In the same way, in recent years the popularized Jamaican variety prevails as the main one in this market, according to various media.

Also compared to El Salvador or Guatemala, the price per gram for the lowest quality of Cannabis in Costa Rica is three times higher. While in these places a gram can be around a dollar, in these other countries the gram is around 4 dollars if we speak in terms of the popular price.

Even though the security authorities continue to search localities for the so-called Cannabis “laboratories”, this is a market whose demand has increased significantly in the last year. Such is the recent case, when a person of Dominican nationality was detained with three thousand plants and 50 bales ready for distribution, with a total value of ₡ 200 million Colones, according to the prices outlined above.

“The police must investigate and eliminate the illegal crop, especially if it is turned out for sale. But it undoubtedly affects the market and forces users to have to access poor-quality products or consume other drugs due to lack of supply,” said Ernesto Cortés, director of the Costa Rican Association on the Study and Intervention on Drugs (ACEID).

The reason is simple: people who engage in this activity regulate prices as they please. To give a graphic example, a cigarette from this plant is said to contain at least 0.7 to one gram. We are talking about that the price for each of them costs the consumer 10 thousand Colones ($ 20). With the so-called pressed marijuana, the price is 2,000 colones ($ 4), however many consumers are preferring to consume hydroponic or “indoors” varieties.

Some politicians continue to take lukewarm positions, denying the existence of a market. However, the number of raids reported this year reflects a highly lucrative business that not only exposes Costa Ricans to health hazards but also involves them in criminal networks that the State cannot keep under control.

Resonance Costa Rica
VIAGuillermo Agudelo
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