Costa Rican lawmakers on Thursday approved the legalization of the cultivation, production, industrial processing and marketing of cannabis for therapeutic purposes, after three years of debate in Congress.
"With great satisfaction, after a very long road with many delays, the bill was approved," said Soila Volio, the MP who spearheaded the initiative.
This decision will bring "economic growth", will create "opportunities for the country", as well as "investments and jobs", Ms. Volio assured. "But the most important thing is that patients will be able to buy a good quality medicine at a reasonable price, to improve their quality of life," he added.
According to activist Isaac Amador, father of a child with cerebral palsy who uses hashish oil to relieve epilepsy, some 3.500 people in the Central American country use this type of product for therapeutic purposes.
According to him, until today many families of patients have been forced to procure such products illegally, to buy them from abroad, or, like him, to produce on their own, at home.
A study by Costa Rican Public Trade Promotion Agency (PROCOMER) said that by 2025, the global hashish and therapeutic cannabis market will have a turnover of about $ 35 billion a year.
Internationally, some 20 countries approve cannabis production and marketing, including several in Latin America, including Argentina, Chile, Panama, Mexico and Colombia.
In Costa Rica, all that remains is for President Carlos Alvarado to sign the text that was voted yesterday to become state law. The president has voiced support for the bill in the past. He has, however, a veto.
The production of cannabis plants and products will require a permit from the authorities.