Central America turns greener as Costa Rica embraces medical cannabis legalization

Central America turns greener as Costa Rica embraces medical cannabis legalization

Costa Rica’s President Carlos Alvarado has officially legalized medical cannabis across the scorching hot Central American country. Cannabis advocates celebrated the president’s legislative signing on Wednesday, March 2.

The day before Alvarado signed the bill, it was approved by lawmakers. He vetoed a different version earlier this year. 

Just last month, Alvarado received an amended version of the bill with his requested changes, including cultivation and consumption limits.

Industry lobbyists have applauded the updated legislation, with many feeling satisfied that the bill will offer Costa Rica’s agricultural sector a major boost, in addition to stimulating job creation.

Alvarado’s signing of Costa Rica’s medical cannabis bill could be one of the last major things he does during his term, with candidates José Maria Figueres and Rodrigo Chavez hoping to soon replace him.

Both Figueres and Chavez have been publicly open about adult-use cannabis reform. 

Costa Rica is following the footsteps of neighboring countries

Considering the cannabis plant’s progressive adoption by neighboring countries like Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru, there’s no wonder why Costa Rica is moving in the same direction.

While Uruguay is the only country that has completely legalized cannabis in the entre region, Mexico is inching closer to becoming the second country. 

With the two male contenders for Costa Rica’s top political spot openly expressing their support for legal weed, the country might even beat Mexico to it. 

Why is Costa Rica’s cannabis market so appealing?

Prior to the president’s signing of Costa Rica’s medical cannabis bill, the plant had already been decriminalized. Plus, before its passing, people caught carrying cannabis for personal consumption did not face penalties.

Despite its currently illegal status, the Costa Rican people have enjoyed indulging in cannabis throughout history. In fact, cannabis use is intertwined with the local culture and traditions.

The latest push for legalization launched in 2019, but just one company has been given the go-ahead to study cannabis’ use for medical purposes; 12 cultivars are being cultivated at two different locations.

With a sturdy expat and medical sector two sectors that are likely to be strengthened by the newly-passed legislation Costa Rica could be the ideal spot for a recreational market to thrive in the near future, too.

What’s more, prior to COVID-19, Costa Rica’s economy grew an average of seven percent on an annual basis from the tourism sector. Should tourism levels creep back up to normal in a post-COVID world, the country’s cannabis market could harvest a great deal of wealth and recognition.