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    The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – In order to request to the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones to hold a referendum for marijuana legalization it takes at least 125,000 signatures of Costa Ricans. This is the purpose of the Medicinal Cannabis Movement Costa Rica, which is trying to collect the necessary assents through its 486 volunteers. They will be engaged for two weeks beginning on May 5, and people could find them and know about their project in the central parks of the 81 cantons.

    Gerald Murray, the leader of the Movement, thinks legalization of medical cannabis is necessary for the country’s economy and above all for treatment of chronic pain, depression, asthma, multiple sclerosis, cancer and many other serious diseases. Today, other Latin American countries have already legalized marijuana: in Uruguay, for example, the government is managing production, distribution and sale of cannabis. The State is also providing licenses to people who want to cultivate cannabis seeds by themselves (it is possible up to six plants). And from the coming month of June, medical cannabis is going to be sold in Uruguayan pharmacies at one dollar per gram. This could oppose the illegal trade and traffickers, and support the defense of human rights and democracy.

    Despite this model – which seems to be a potential solution to the unsuccessful prohibition – Costa Rica’s president-elect Luis Guillermo Solís does not appear to be ready to legalize marijuana, even if he would welcome an open debate about it.

    Nowadays, the debate about medical cannabis is discussed in other many countries: Obama administration, for example, remains strongly opposed to legalization, while in Puerto Rico it is widely supported by many people asking to regulate cannabis for medicinal, industrial and creative use. Colorado and Washington (with Uruguay), on the other hand, are the first states in the world to authorize a legal, regulated market of cannabis.

    To support the project of the Medicinal Cannabis Movement there is also the scientific research, which has often assessed the benefits of marijuana for therapeutic purposes. An important study conducted in Costa Rica from 1980 to 1982 – and often mentioned on most recent studies  – compared heavy long-term cannabis users with non-users and found no evidence of intellectual damage, or changes in personality, and no loss of the will to participate in society and to work. This is one of the reasons why cannabis should be evaluated as an effective medicament.

    By: Jimmy Simond

    The Costa Rica News (TCRN)

    San Jose, Costa Rica

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