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The law authorizes the production and commercialization of cannabis-hemp for industrial and food use.
- A.M. Costa Rica wire services illustrative photo -


Published Monday, September 21, 2020

Congress pre-approves production
of medical marijuana law

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The deputies of the Commission of Environment of Congress approved bill No. 21,388 so-called "Law for the production of cannabis and hemp for medicinal purposes."

According to Congress, the bill regulates and allows the access, use of cannabis and its derivatives exclusively for medicinal and therapeutic use. Furthermore, the law authorizes the production and commercialization of cannabis-hemp for industrial and food use. The law also encourages production chains that essentially benefit small agricultural producers.

There is an imprisonment of six to twelve years for persons not authorized to grow poppy plants (papaver somniferum), coca (erythroxilon coca), and marijuana (cannabis indica and cannabis sativa) according to the bill.

People not authorized to plant any other plants or seeds with effects similar to those mentioned above and whose cultivation, possession or trafficking has been declared prohibited or restricted by the Ministry of Health is also punished with jail.

The new law orders for authorized people to oblige by the rules for producing cannabis and derivatives, for example, to allow the immediate entry of the representatives of the Ministry of Security to their agro-industrial establishment, laboratory, greenhouse, industrial, commercial or warehouse premises.

Ministry officials will be able to take samples, make measurements of quality, biosecurity, and innocuousness, among others. This is to control the conditions of the cultivation, production, traffic, possession, storage or supply of medicines and especially seeds, roots, plants, flowers and narcotics and psychotropic substances or products, the Congress said in its statement.

Law also establishes a tax of 5% of net profits on the income obtained from the production of authorized activities for cannabis for medical therapeutic use and hemp for industrial or food use.

Also, the law allows the Ministry of Agriculture in coordination with the National Institute of Learning and public universities to provide training, technical assistance, and develop research related to these cannabis and hemp crops. The aforementioned institutions will also provide technical support to small and medium-sized enterprises or agricultural organizations so that they can obtain licenses for cultivation and successfully enter authorized activities, Congress said.

The next step, for the advancement of the law, is an additional analysis by all the deputies, for the final vote in favor or against the law.

In May, President Carlos Alvarado announced that he promotes the cultivation of cannabis-hemp, as part of the action plan for the economic reactivation of the post-covid-19 pandemic.

"We will promote the cultivation of cannabis-hemp to reactivate the productive sector, with all the guarantees and securities," Alvarado said.

Cannabis hemp, or industrial hemp, is a strain of the Cannabis sativa plant species that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products. The Cannabis hemp is used for making a variety of commercial and industrial products, including rope, textiles, clothing, shoes, food, paper, bioplastics, insulation, and biofuel.

The U.S. National Institute of Drug Abuse, medical cannabis or medical marijuana is used as medicine for reducing nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy, improving appetite for people with HIV/AIDS, reduces chronic pain and muscle spasms and treats severe forms of epilepsy.

The bill was presented to the Congress by deputy Zoila Rosa Volio, for the use of the cannabis hemp.

The law will have two goals. The first is to generate a pharmaceutical industry around the products that result from the cultivation of cannabis and its hemp, which has already been accepted worldwide. The second is to provide national and international consumers with quality products formulated and produced under the best international standards and practices.

The law does not regulate the recreational consumption of cannabis or its hemp, but is limited to an industrial regulation of the medicinal and industrial production of cannabis and its hemp.

Is legalizing the industrial use of cannabis or its hemp a good move for Costa Rica? 
We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to


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