By / December 20, 2021

Costa Rica: the Supreme Court validates the legalization of medical cannabis

The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Costa Rica has ruled that the proposed legalization of medical cannabis is not unconstitutional. With this decision, the “Chamber IV” gives the green light for a vote in the Legislative Assembly.

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A Green Light for Cannabis from Highest Legal Authority in Costa Rica

“Given the resolution issued this Tuesday by the Constitutional Chamber, in which it indicates that there are no unconstitutionalities in the bill on medicinal and therapeutic cannabis and hemp for food and industrial use (file 21.388), the Executive Branch immediately presents the call to this initiative in the period of extraordinary sessions, so that once the full sentence arrives, it will continue its process,” said Geannina Dinarte Romero, Minister of the Presidency.

“We urge the Legislative Assembly to continue approving the public employment project, as well as other fundamental initiatives for the country, both in terms of economic reactivation and consolidation of the fiscal path, which are in legislative plenary,” she added.

If the project is approved, all that is needed is the signature of President Carlos Alvarado and the publication in the Official Gazette La Gaceta for it to enter into force.

In October, the Costa Rican Congress approved the project. But what exactly will it do for the cannabis and Hemp industries in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica’s Project for the Legalization of Medical Cannabis and Hemp

The bill declares free the cultivation, production, industrialization, commercialization of hemp and its products or by-products, for food and industrial purposes, without special or additional prior authorization from the authorities.

The use and exploitation on the national territory of medical cannabis would be allowed, only and exclusively, to carry out the following activities:

The production, including sowing, cultivation, harvesting, storage, transportation and distribution, as well as the production and importation of seeds of cannabis varieties for :

  • Its sale as raw material to the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) or to duly authorized laboratories or establishments in the national territory or for export to third countries where the legal trade of these products is allowed.
  • Its direct industrialization by the same producer for the development and commercialization of products for medical or therapeutic use, authorized in accordance with this Law. In this case, the producer must also have the respective enabling title to carry out the activities of industrialization of products derived from cannabis for medical or therapeutic use.
  • The elaboration or industrialization, storage, transportation, distribution and commercialization of medicines, cosmetics, essential oils and other products for medical or therapeutic use duly authorized in accordance with this law, from cannabis plants, their by-products and derivatives.
  • The Costa Rican Social Security (CCSS) will be able to grant contracts for the purchase of products to organizations, associations, cooperatives or any other entity that complies with the provisions of Law No. 8262, Law for the Strengthening of Small and Medium Enterprises.
  • Licenses for the cultivation and industrialization of cannabis for medical or therapeutic purposes will be granted for a period of six years and may be renewed for equal periods, at the request of the licensee and after demonstrating compliance with all the requirements and obligations established in the law and its regulations. The duration of the research licenses and the procedure for their renewal will be regulated according to the type of research in question.

Research, Study and Oversight

The initiative authorizes the CCSS, together with public and private universities, to conduct research and produce in its laboratories medicines and products for therapeutic use authorized by the Ministry of Health, using psychoactive cannabis, its extracts and derivatives; as well as to receive, purchase, process and distribute medicinal and therapeutic cannabis, its products, by-products and derivatives.

In addition, the CCSS will be authorized to include, on the basis of technical studies, medicines and products for therapeutic use based on cannabis in its official lists of medicines and to deliver them to insured persons in Costa Rica, in accordance with the prescription of the health professional in charge of their treatment.

(Featured image by Ralph (Ravi) Kayden on Unsplash)

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