Was there Progress in Costa Rica with Regards to Hemp and Cannabis during 2020?

    Still much more concentrated effort is needed

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    The year 2,020 has already ended and Costa Ricans continue to wait for strong answers, due to the pending approval of the bill to legalize the production of Cannabis and Hemp in the country.

    These have been difficult days with the COVID-19 Pandemic around the world, where all sectors, mainly the agroproductive, have been affected. The adaptation process has been fundamental, in the case of Costa Rica, the institutions linked to this area have strengthened ties with strategic allies to prevent agricultural production from stopping.

    Research has been carried out in favor of the innovation of cutting-edge technologies for agricultural production, this is where the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), Renato Alvarado, emphasizes the valuations of different materials of industrial cannabis, with regards to the perspective for the legalization of the crop in the country.

    Take into account that the Environment Commission of the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica (CR), in the course of the year 2020, approved the substitute text of the legislative project “Law of Cannabis for medicinal and therapeutic use and of Hemp for food and industrial purposes”.

    All the changes were oriented towards the simplification of procedures, the requirements, and formalities for home cultivation for some patients, the granting of incentives to the activity, the definition of requirements for obtaining licenses, as well as a special tax for said activity. Therefore, bill number 21,388 establishes that -the domestic cultivation of Cannabis plants- is regulated.

    It should be noted that the Law encourages the production of small agricultural producers, providing various incentives such as training, technical assistance and access to credit, all of this established in articles 13.2, 15, 47 and 48. State regulation is in charge of the MAG jointly with the Ministry of Health. But it turns out that the executive branch can regulate and limit the number of licenses granted.

    Some important details:

    Articles 5, 6 and 7 refer to the simplification of the regulation of Hemp and freedom of cultivation is given. Considering that – it does not have psychoactive effects, it is not categorized as a drug. Article 8.4: Self-consumption and medicinal self-cultivation are regulated.

    Now, while the legalization is 100% on course, organizations such as the Costa Rican Foreign Trade Promoter (Procomer) emphasize that hemp has the potential to be commercialized industrially. Segments of hemp by-products were identified in which Costa Rica could enter, as long as the legislators approve Law 21,388.

    Hemp products that were identified

    Among the Hemp products identified by Procomer, supplements, topical solutions, or CBD (cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive element of cannabis) incorporated into food and beverages stand out.

    There is a possibility of potentiating hemp in products of industrial application such as bioplastics and sustainable construction. Additionally in dairy products, bakery products, seeds and snacks, personal care products such as soaps and lotions, as well as textiles.

    They are classified as follows:

    CBD is characterized as the most profitable option, according to Procomer, which requires a higher investment and higher prices and volatility. If speaking in grain form, this type has moderate utility and extensions with medium / low initial investment compared to CBD and greater price stability and low intensity in the use of labor. Now if it is in fiber, you can make a lower initial investment than the production for CBD, but it requires large areas of land.

    Product registration
    In Costa Rica, the registration of products for the Cannabis and Hemp industry is promoted. It is the BLP legal firm, which previously achieved the approval of the first registrations of products with CBD (Cannabinoid derived from the Cannabis plant).

    We are talking precisely about the registry of supplements, cosmetics and food products. Until now, the products are allowed to be freely marketed, only with CBD (cannabidiol) and 100% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) free, which have the proper permits from the Ministry of Health.

    Important for world markets
    By the way, the importance of the issue on -Cannabis-, the BLP law firm, calculated an estimated growth of US $ 12,000 million from the year 2,019, to US $ 55,800 million by 2,025

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