Costa Rican lawmakers discuss whether the production of medicinal cannabis

The Environmental Committee of the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica is to define if the medicinal cannabis production is reserved for domestic producers only or the door is left open to foreign companies to enter this new industry for the country.

Wednesday the legislative committee begins the discussion of the 29 motions presented to the bill. The discussion focused on article 12 of the preliminary draft which indicates that: “Authorizations for cultivation and production on the national territory of psychoactive cannabis for medical or therapeutic purposes can only be granted to producer organizations. agricultural centers formed into small and medium-sized agricultural centers, agricultural or self-management cooperatives or indigenous development associations ”.

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The Liberationist deputies, Karine Niño and Roberto Thompson, presented a motion to modify this article with the following wording: “they will be granted to natural or legal persons in accordance with the regulatory standards established by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, respecting the provisions of this law ”.

Frente Amplio deputy José María Villalta acknowledged that the original article of the text can be very restrictive by including the word “only” and leaving out other industries, but added that the objective of the initiative is that the benefits that will be generated can reach this heavily affected agricultural sector.

Give added value

“The idea is that local producers can carry out the cultivation and can be linked to other industries that give added value and can sell or even export the product and that the benefits of this law reach this impoverished agricultural sector,” he said. Villalta said. He proposed that common ground be reached on how to design a mechanism, through a requirement or a percentage, that could make these links.

Set production quotas

The Member of the Citizen Action Party (PAC), Paola Vega, also called for a balance to be struck in the text. Vega noted that going to the other end of the proposal could favor medicinal cannabis oligopolies in the country, where companies with solid capital would rack up the benefits of the industry. He suggested that agricultural producers, cooperatives or associations should benefit from preferential treatment either by establishing production percentages.

MP Thompson recalled that the industry is worth billions of dollars, but limiting it to the local would be to shut the door to jobs, although he acknowledged that he agrees to seek more consistent wording in order to kick things off. local thumb to farmers. MP Niño recalled that the project is not a rescue initiative, but rather the opening of a new activity in the country and that it cannot be limited to a specific group.

Merging cannabis crops with coffee

Christian Socialist Erwen Masís, also a member of the commission, recognized the importance of creating an opportunity for agricultural cooperatives, where in Alajuela some have even expressed interest in merging cannabis with coffee, although ‘he recalled that private companies should also have access to this production, since they also pay taxes and create jobs.

The committee agreed to approve Motion 10 proposed by the Liberation fraction, with the commitment to seek a better wording for the second day of motions. 20 of the 29 motions presented were known and a total of seven were approved.

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