Cannabis reform may be spreading across the globe at an ever-increasing pace, and with it, the emerging international cannabis industry, however, the process has moved slower in some countries compared to others, with Costa Rica being a great example of that.
In the Western Hemisphere, cannabis reform has spread faster than its Eastern Hemisphere counterpart. After all, Uruguay was the first nation to legalize cannabis for adult-use, followed by Canada becoming the first G-7 nation to do so. Significant cannabis reform can be found elsewhere in the hemisphere as well.
Yet, cannabis policy reform and standing up a regulated industry has proceeded at a slower rate in Costa Rica. As we previously reported, lawmakers in Costa Rica passed a cannabis reform measure in 2021 and sent it to the President for sign off. That sign off never occurred, and instead, Costa Rica’s president issued a veto and sent the measure back to lawmakers instructing them to make the measure more strict.
Eventually things moved along a bit, and finally, after a lot of political wrangling and foot dragging, Costa Rica has issued its first hemp project license. Per The Tico Times:
The Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), Víctor Julio Carvajal Porras, signed the resolution authorizing the first project for the use of hemp this Friday.
Ingenio Taboga S.A. made the request. It is located in Bebedero de Cañas, Guanacaste, developing a hemp cultivation and processing project in a 150-hectare area.
According to the reporting by The Tico Times, there are eight more industry applications being considered – seven for hemp-related projects, and one for medical cannabis. It’s unclear if/when any of those additional projects will gain approval.
According to Statista, Costa Rica’s gross domestic product (GDP) ranked 11th in 2021 out of countries located in the Latin America and Caribbean regions. Any jobs and economic boost that the cannabis industry can provide Costa Rica is surely welcomed.