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Push For Legalization Continues In Costa Rica

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Multiple countries on different continents are making meaningful pushes to modernize their cannabis policies in ways that would permit adults to cultivate, consume, and/or sell cannabis for recreational purposes.

One of those countries is Costa Rica, where lawmakers are divided over a recent effort to pass an adult-use cannabis legalization measure. This month the nation’s president once again called for adult-use cannabis legalization, and the call was received with mixed reactions. Per excerpts from Tico Times:

Several deputies across parties echoed Chaves’ perspective. Manuel Morales, President of the Environment Commission that oversees the stalled legalization bill, agrees the goal is regulating existing demand rather than promoting more usage.

However, some legislators remain fiercely opposed, especially from the opposition National Liberation Party (PLN). Deputy Dinorah Barquero alleged the bill lacks sufficient study of potential public health impacts from increased cannabis use. Meanwhile, fellow PLN member Gilbert Jiménez labeled Chaves’ legalization push as “inopportune” given the scale of Costa Rica’s security challenges with homicides and criminal groups.

Costa Rica’s Executive Branch previously introduced a cannabis legalization measure that would be later voted down by the nation’s Permanent Special Environment Commission in a 5-3 vote back in August. A major focus of the measure was to boost the nation’s tourism industry and to make Costa Rica a top global cannabis tourism destination.

In President Chaves’ recent call to renew the push to legalize cannabis for adult use in his country, he placed a heavy emphasis on modernizing the nation’s policies to help combat drug cartels and organized crime.

Costa Rica is reportedly experiencing an interesting phenomenon, with cannabis allegedly being smuggled into the country at an increasing rate. If so, Costa Rica would be wise to follow in Canada’s footsteps. Canada legalized cannabis in 2018 and consumers have largely transitioned their purchases to the regulated industry instead of buying from unregulated sources.

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