President Rodrigo Chaves and his Ministers of the Presidency, Public Safety, Health, Agriculture and Livestock promoted file No. 23383 before Congress, with the initial text of the bill for the CONTROL AND REGULATION OF CANNABIS FOR RECREATIONAL USE, which seeks to regulate the use, production, distribution, sale, and possession of psychoactive cannabis for recreational use in the adult population. Additionally, it is proposed as a measure to protect people from the link with the illegal cannabis trade and from the health consequences of its problematic consumption.
The bill upholds the following guidelines for users of psychoactive cannabis:
- Absolute prohibition of use in people under 18 years of age.
- The regulated possession of up to 30 grams of the cannabis plant and other products for personal recreational consumption is authorized. The list of permitted products, together with their amount of possession and THC levels, will be regulated by the Ministry of Health.
- In terms of home-growth of cannabis, the project allows up to six plants per residence without the need for a license.
- In addition, a ban on smoking is established in several public and private centers listed in the text, such as health and hospital establishments, work centers, educational and training centers, sports facilities, shopping centers, public administration offices, bars and restaurants, among others.
The following commercial provisions should be noted:
- Cafeterias or coffee shops are enabled to store and distribute derivatives of edible or drinkable cannabis according to the regulations.
- Licenses are established for cultivation, production, industrialization, small-scale and craft industries, sale to the public by dispensary businesses (wholesale and retail), as well as the so-called social clubs for consumption.
- Crimes, infractions, confiscations, and sanctions are defined. In addition, the traceability and registration system is established.
- A special tax of 1% is established on net income, the amount collected from which will be allocated to the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, the Costa Rican Institute on Drugs, the Costa Rican Social Security Fund and the National Development Fund.
Finally, some measures are provided for the fulfillment of the objectives of the law, such as:
- Income received by the Ministry of Health for licenses and special tax is directed towards strategies to delay the age of initiation of consumption, to increase the perception of the risk of abusive consumption and to reduce problematic consumption.
- The implementation of benefit measures for small producers and distributors.
- Packaging, labeling, and advertising guidelines to avoid consumption incentives.
- Promotion of Costa Rica as a tourist destination for the responsible consumption of cannabis for recreational use.
While the text is subject to change, there is a truly progressive intention behind the proposal.