Costa Rica seems to be moving slowly toward legalization of marijuana.
A bill in the legislature would set up regulations for the production and use of cannabis for medical purposes and hemp for industrial uses.
Most proponents really see legalizing medical marijuana as just the first stage toward full legalization. A referendum on the issue certainly would receive an overwhelming support from the under-30 crowd.
Several hundred of the proponents met under the auspices of the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud over the weekend. This was the CannaCosta 2015 Fest sponsored by Emmanuel Javogue of Zegreenlab. His Web site says “We are a support for researchers, information source and creators of the best organic products.”
The company now focuses on medical cannabis and industrial hemp, the site says. Cañamo is Spanish for hemp, hence the name of the event.
This was a strictly no-smoking affair, and it was not a protest. Among those who attended was Marvin Atencio Delgado, a legislator who supports the regulated use of cannabis and hemp.
A host of other guests participated in serious forums and roundtables on the topic.
There also were handicap activists pointing out the benefits of the plant since they started using it as pain reliever. In extremely cases cannabis oil stops vomiting and increases the appetite, said Jason Lauve, director of Hemp Cleans.
Those who attended the fest were mostly students and young professionals. Some said they are expecting changes in the regulation. An organization called LEAP Costa Rica was there, too. The acronym comes from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. The international organization consists of ex-police officers and young volunteers. It says on its Facebook page that judges also support the effort.
The organization says it is against use or abuse of cannabis but supports freedom of choice for those who seek to use medical marijuana.
In fact, the recreational use of marijuana is widespread in Costa Rica, and even the late A.M. Costa Rica columnist Jo Stuart wrote about her illicit use of marijuana for medical purposes.
The plant grows wild in the Talamanca mountains and elsewhere. Monday police announced the arrest of a man on the Caribbean coast who had in his possession eight kilos of the processed plant.
So far the major objection to the medical marijuana bill comes from the nation’s anti-drug agencies. There also is most certainly pressure from the United States.
Even the White House maintains a marijuana information center. Says the presidential Web page:
Confusing messages being presented by popular culture, media, proponents of “medical” marijuana, and political campaigns to legalize all marijuana use perpetuate the false notion that marijuana is harmless. This significantly diminishes efforts to keep our young people drug free and hampers the struggle of those recovering from addiction.
Of course there is a famous photo of a younger commander in chief lighting up.