With the affirmative vote of 35 deputies, the Legislative Assembly again approved this afternoon in second debate the bill to legalize the cultivation and trade of medicinal cannabis, and industrial hemp, in Costa Rica.
The controversial proposal left behind the partial veto that the Government gave the project weeks ago, alleging safety and public health risks due to the sections on self-consumption and self-cultivation of cannabis.
Thus, the approved text eliminated the two articles that referred to these issues and also the paragraph on hemp licenses, which will now be necessary for producers who want to enter that market.
“The project significantly lowered its quality, what the Executive Power did with this text that you ended up accepting was a double slap, first technically because they did not want to be informed, but also a slap to the legislative procedure, because the Executive Power never communicated with the commission to express its concerns or enrich the text”, questioned the independent Paola Vega, president of the Environment Commission.
Vega had already harshly questioned the reasons for that veto, expressing that there was “ignorance and prejudice” in the justifications of the Ministers of Health and Safety. She also added that the licenses for hemp also drag those same vices, by setting requirements for a product that is the same as a potato or a pineapple.
Zoila Rosa Volio, proponent of the initiative, thanked all the people who accompanied her in that fight over four years, recalling that at the beginning she was the victim of ridicule and criticism from different fronts.
“This has been a process of adding more than an isolated one,” said Volio after thanking all the people who supported her in the construction and approval of the initiative.
The Bills more important aspects:
- Among others, the project establishes that in the case of medicinal cannabis this will be allowed as long as the THC (psychoactive component) does not exceed concentrations of 1%.
- The importation of seeds of psychoactive varieties for sale as raw material to the CCSS or for export to third countries where the legal trade of these products is allowed will also be guaranteed.
- Trade and cultivation licenses for this industry will be granted for six years and may be renewed for identical periods.
- 40% of these agricultural licenses will go to SMEs, organizations of small and medium producers, agricultural cooperatives or indigenous development associations.
The cannabis and hemp industry will have a 1% tax on profits from activities derived from the future law
These resources will be additional to the income tax and will be distributed among different institutions such as the Ministry of Health, Agriculture and Livestock and the Costa Rican Institute on Drugs (all with 10%), 20% for the CCSS and 30% for the National Fund. of Development of the Banking System for Development.
The project, according to Procomer statistics, opens the doors for Costa Rica to a world market that would move $35 billion by 2025. The project will now return to the Executive Branch for its signature and subsequent publication in the official newspaper La Gaceta.