Legalization of marijuana in Costa Rica

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    Henriette Jacobsen,

    A new movement wants to make the use of marijuana legal in Costa Rica. They are hoping a big protest on April 20 will get the government to change the law.

    The facebook group “Si a la legalización de la marihuana en Costa Rica” wants to legalize marijuana in Costa Rica through a protest held at the Plaza de la Democracia in San José on April 20. Similar marches for legalization of marijuana will also take place on the same day in England, Venezuela, the Netherlands and the United States. The organizers are also planning another event for May 7.

    We all have loved ones who use marijuana and know how they are labeled, without even being heard at times, and in the worst case are being treated as criminals,” the group writes as one of the main reasons for their demonstration.

    The movement says it opposes the war on drugs that started 40 years ago in 1971, by the former American President Richard Nixon. They call this war one of the most disastrous public policies. The point of the demonstration is to create awareness that if Costa Rica follows the United States’ prohibition model, Costa Rica will end up having an untenable situation like in Mexico.

    We need to tell the government that they will commit a serious error if they allow the situation to be militarized. The war on drugs causes more problems than it aims to solve.”

    In Mexico, the human rights situation has been affected by the United States control policies that have been adopted to prevent drug trafficking via Mexico and to eliminate the power of the drug cartels. The military now has the power to not only carry out anti-drug and public security operations, but also to enact policy. According to the United States Department of State, the police and military in Mexico have been accused of committing serious human rights violations in their efforts to combat the drug cartels. Some of these violations include rape, illegal arrests, torture and fabrication of evidence. U.S. authorities are also reporting an increase in the number of killings, kidnappings and home invasions linked to the Mexican drug cartels. More than 200 Americans were killed in Mexico between 2004 and February 2009. Another 92 Americans were killed between June 2009 and June 2010.

    The facebook group so far has more than 4,700 members, and more than 3,300 people have so far signed up to take part in the protest march on April 20.

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