Costa Rica’s Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock is resisting a proposed measure intended to establish a hemp program in the country.
The Central American nation is prepping to join the ranks of several Latin American countries establishing cannabis programs. However, the agriculture ministry is pushing back against the rule on hemp and cannabis production for medical purposes, which the ministry was tasked to oversee in collaboration with health agencies.
The country’s agriculture minister Renato Alvarado voiced his concerns with the bill, saying that the law, as currently written, is setting up hemp fields to act as camouflage for illegal marijuana plantations. Alvarado is worried the move will attract organized crime groups to establish their base in the country.
The proposed measure, which has received backing from Costa Rica’s President Carlos Alvarado Quesada, recommends placing cannabis cultivation, processing, industrialization, and commercialization under the agriculture ministry. It also authorizes research-based production overseen by the Ministry of Health.
The proposal sets up a system for medicinal cannabis applications in the country.
The measure enjoys tremendous support from legislators who do not share Alvarado’s sentiments and quickly pointed it out. Poola Vega, a legislative assembly deputy, said that the bill was Costa Rica’s first step, an already conservative project as it were. Vega believes that it was time for the nation to be discussing the total legalization of the cannabis sector for all its applications.
Vega added that the legislators would move ahead with the draft as planned as the country needed to progress in the industry.
The deputy behind the proposed hemp law, Zoila Rosa Volio, said opposition to the bill stems from ignorance. The proposal has already determined measures to curtail illegal cultivation and help law enforcement in policing the industry.
Volio believes that it’s urgent to establish a cannabis industry to help revive the country’s economy after the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.