Costa Rica marijuana legalization efforts to proceed

Costa Rica is taking the next steps with a bill that seeks to legalize medical marijuana and the production of hemp. Today, project 21.388 will be presented for discussion by the Legislative Assembly.

The proposal has a long way to go before becoming law — and there’s no guarantee it’ll have enough support to pass. Notably, the Health Ministry (and President Carlos Alvarado) have voiced concerns about legalizing medical marijuana.

Still, the project represents the most concrete action Costa Rica has taken toward legalizing these products with significant economic potential.

We’ll keep you posted on the latest developments!

Is weed legal in Costa Rica?

Anyone who has spent more than approximately 60 seconds in Jacó or Tamarindo knows marijuana is readily obtainable in Costa Rica. 

While production of cannabis products is illegal in Costa Rica, many lawyers (and, importantly, police) agree that personal possession is decriminalized.

Article 58 of the country’s Law on Narcotic Drugs stipulates the following:

A prison sentence of eight to fifteen years shall be imposed on whoever, without legal authorization, distributes, trades, supplies, manufactures, elaborates, refines, transforms, extracts, prepares, cultivates, produces, transports, stores or sells drugs, substances or the products referred to in this Law, or cultivate the plants from which such substances or products are obtained.

Lawyers consulted by the daily La Nación assured that Costa Rica’s drug law “punishes everything related exclusively to drug trafficking, but does not punish personal consumption.” 

While nothing in Costa Rican law defines the amount allowed as “personal consumption,” the experts agreed that “the only thing authorities can do if they find crops for personal consumption is confiscate them and, in some cases, destroy them.” 


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