Costa Rican Government Plans to Present a New Text of the Marijuana Project for Recreational Use

    Much opposition and some in favor

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    The Costa Rican Government plans to present a substitute text to the recreational marijuana bill after collecting the observations of different institutions. According to Natalia Díaz, Minister of the Presidency, the document will be worked on in a coordinated manner between various entities; specifically: the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Costa Rican Institute on Drugs (ICD).

    “We are coordinating the general observations that have been made in the commission and the idea is to present a text where we can very soon and resolve this issue because the hearings are part of the commission process,” she said.

    Until now, a vast majority of criteria opposed to the initiative promoted by the Government and some others with an opinion in favor

    The Judicial Investigation Agency (OIJ), the College of Physicians, the College of Psychiatrists, the Institute of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (IAFA), the Evangelical Alliance Federation and some municipalities voiced their opposition and requested that it be archived. The objective of the Government is to leave this issue closed this year.

    Criteria in favor

    Although a majority of criteria are exposed against the plan, there are also others in favor, particularly from local governments. One of them is the Municipality of Curridabat through the agreement issued by the Municipal Council in the act 134-2022 indicates the benefit of this plan.

    “It must be ruled positively because it establishes legalizing production, industrialization, sale and consumption. It makes it easier for 17.7% of the population to consume marijuana and, according to the latest survey, it tends to rise, making it possible to seize said trade from drug traffickers, turning the activity into a productive enterprise,” says the document sent to the legislative forum.  Another argument is related to allowing the State to focus on public health and, at the same time, allocate limited resources to prevention.

    There are other criteria where the entities indicate that since there is no impact on the institution, they are not opposed or, they indicate that it is not their responsibility to issue any observations.

    Among them, the response of the National Production Council (CNP) where it is indicated that despite having no substantive or formal observations, “as well as no legal observations to the aforementioned project, we are in favor of it,” said Adolfo Ramírez, CEO. The same happens with Japdeva, where they did not show opposition because it does not affect the autonomy of the institution.

    Regarding Banco de Costa Rica (BCR), Douglas Soto, general manager, affirms that they will not issue a criterion since it does not affect the activities of the financial conglomerate.

    Other points of view

    Other criteria issued are summarized below:

    IAFA: Issued by Oswaldo Aguirre, General Director. They do not recommend its approval. They state that it contravenes the drug control treaties and the commitments made by the member states of the World Health Organization. “It also has serious consequences for health and well-being, particularly for youth,” he concludes.

    Senara: It is signed by Osvaldo Quirós, General Manager. The entity reported that it has no observations on the appointment project.

    Municipality of Tibás: Initially, an analysis is made by Ruth Esquivel, Coordinator of Legal Services. There they state that the approach is correct and is adjusted to the law. “The norm contains legal certainty in relation to what it regulates, expressly and in detail establishing its prohibitions, it is an undeniable reality that in Costa Rica many people consume cannabis, which is why its regulation is necessary.” The council approved it in session on November 23.

    Municipality of Santa Ana: Initial analysis carried out by Sergio Jiménez, advisor to the Municipal Council. It indicates that the municipal government is left alone with the exception of the authorization of commercialization establishments that must have their respective municipal license. “I believe that municipal participation should be expanded in such a way that it participates in the registration of authorized establishments -control-, in the campaigns that are generated around the subject and in the problematic use of the same, taking into account the participation of the municipal police and their preventive role”, highlights in his report that he was welcomed by the Council.

    Supreme Court of Justice: The document is signed by Orlando Aguirre, president of the Court. They point out that “the text consulted does not refer to the organization or operation of the Judiciary, assumptions that according to article 167 of the Political Constitution are those that require a pronouncement by the Court.”

    INFOOCOP: The entity sends the analysis carried out by Mauricio Pozos, interim legal advisory manager. “It is not part of the competence conferred by this norm and it does not affect the autonomy of INFOCOOP either, this legal advice has no substantive observations or suggestions, nor objections regarding the content of the aforementioned proposal, so it is recommended to abstain because it constitutes a matter of legislative policy”.

    Municipality of Grecia: Agrees not to support the file but does not give details.

    Municipality of Corredores: they reject the project and do not give justifications.

    Municipality of Naranjo: it stands out that it does not have a negative impact on the municipal regime or municipal autonomy.

    Municipality of Guatuso: it is only reported that it will be supported after a vote where there were three councilors in favor.

    Social Protection Board: The document is signed by Esmeralda Britton, executive president of the Board. She says that there is no objection since it does not impact the actions of the institution. However, it recommends to the commission the technical criteria sent by the Department of human talent development and the medical section where they do object to the plan, particularly because the term “recreational” is used and thereby gives a false belief that it is safe and that it is not creates addiction.

    Municipality of Oreamuno: It is rejected.

    Municipality of Quepos: They are in favor since they do not find possible effects on the interests of the local government. “Being the coastal communities the ones with the greatest national and foreign tourism, a possible solution is presented in terms of transfer, planting, production, processing, collection, distribution, marketing, sale of cannabis and its derivatives and illegal sale of cannabis,” the report points out. .

    National Academy of Medicine: They oppose and argue that the regular use of this drug can cause long-term health effects such as heart problems, infertility, anxiety disorders, tumors, psychosis, among others.

    Municipality of Alajuela: Opposes.

    Icoder: They ask to include sports and recreational facilities within the places prohibited for consumption. Likewise, they request resources to finance their recreation programs with money that will be collected from income tax rates for marketing. Lastly, they consider that more research is required on the impact that it could have in areas of the individual and society. “The adverse health effects that cannabis causes in humans must be considered more seriously based on evidence and, finally, recognize whether or not our public health surveillance system (Ministry of Health) has all the human resources and material to face up to the great responsibility that is being given to it”, concludes Donald Fernández, National Director of Icoder.

    Municipality of Los Chiles: Agreed not to support the plan “because the country is not prepared to start with this planting project, which would remain for free sale to the elderly without knowing the reactions of the people who consume it.”

    National Technical University: In the document signed by the rector Emmanuel González, he indicates that they are not opposed, “it does not border on university autonomy and is in accordance with the aims and principles of the university.”

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