Costa Rica Approves Medicinal Marijuana

The most politically stable country in Central America, Costa Rica, is on its way to legalizing medicinal marijuana.

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica — The national legislature of the Republic of Costa Rica has just passed legislation that legalizes medicinal marijuana for all qualifying citizens across the entire country.

Despite opposition from many conservative political groups and President Carlos Alvarado, the legislature’s approval of the law serves as an endorsement of reforming drug war-era policies.

Unfortunately, Alvarado could veto the legislation and force the Costa Rican efforts to legalize medicinal and recreational marijuana back several more years and legislative sessions.

Lawmakers would need to vote on the proposal and approve what the legislature classifies as a qualified majority.

Zoila Rosa Volio Pacheco, a lawmaker who has backed marijuana legislation in the past, says that Alvarado should see that the bill is balanced and consider several stakeholders’ positions.

“I trust that President Alvarado has understood that and will not veto it,” said Volio Pacheco in a statement to Reuters wire service.

If the proposed law isn’t vetoed, the production and processing of cannabis will be permitted for medical purposes only.

Recreational use, like for many jurisdictions with only medicinal marijuana, remains illegal and therefore unregulated.

The development of medicinal marijuana legalization is a positive step toward a harm reduction-oriented drug policy.

For vaping, the marijuana vape category could grow with the introduction of e-liquids that include medicinal and recreational THC, delta-8, CBD, and other cannabinoids used for ingestion.

Vaping, however, is a mixed bag for Costa Rican regulators.

The Tico Times, an English newspaper published in Costa Rica, reports that Costa Rican lawmakers have approved in second reading and debate a bill that bans the use of vaping devices and electronic cigarettes in public spaces like restaurants and parks.

“It is completely in line with the health alert we already issued regarding the use of vaping devices, where we have even been very clear that there is no study that can show e-cigarettes are a smoking cessation therapy,” said a spokesperson from the Costa Rican Health Ministry to the Times.

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