The Western Hemisphere is no stranger to medical cannabis reform. Medical cannabis is now legal in some form in several countries in North, South, and Central America.
One country where medical cannabis reform was slow to take hold is Costa Rica. For many years advocates tried to push for medical cannabis reform to no avail.
Medical cannabis discussions ramped up considerably in the last two years, with lawmakers having sent a medical cannabis bill to the president’s desk last year just to see it vetoed this year.
Fortunately, lawmakers were quick to pass an updated bill, which was promptly signed into law by Costa Rica’s president.
No home cultivation
The medical cannabis bill that was passed by Costa Rica’s lawmakers last year included a home cultivation provision.
For many months Costa Rica’s president refused to sign the bill into law and publicly aired grievances regarding the home cultivation provision.
That specific provision proved to be too much for the president to handle for whatever reason, and he vetoed the measure, remanding it back to lawmakers with the directive to take the provision out.
The veto took months to finally happen, but after the veto was issued lawmakers passed the updated bill within a week and Costa Rica’s president signed it within hours.
A step in the right direction
Costa Rica’s long-awaited medical cannabis bill is far from perfect. However, its passage is still cause for celebration.
It’s a major milestone for the country, even if it’s a flawed one. The new medical cannabis bill is definitely better than outright prohibition.
As time goes by and Costa Rica’s medical cannabis industry ramps up, the stigma will reduce and lawmakers will likely revisit legalizing home cultivation.
As Carlos Alvarado is president there will be a lingering threat of a veto, yet that shouldn’t deter advocates from keeping the pressure on him.