Mexico’s New Medical Cannabis Rules Underscore The Need For Similar Reform In Costa Rica

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After years of delay, Mexican authorities have finally released the rules that will regulate the production, distribution, and use of medical cannabis in the country.

Back in 2017, former Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto, legalized the limited use of the substance for therapeutic purposes, but the legislation has since been in limbo as there were no regulations in place. In 2019, the Supreme Court had to interfere and mandated that the necessary legal framework for the new industry should be created.

Now it is in place, and Mexico is finally ready to start issuing licences to would-be manufactures of medical cannabis and doctors who would like to incorporate the new medicine into their practice. The country has also established rules for export/import operations and is welcoming medical patients from other countries who want to bring in the medicine with them. It is expected that medical cannabis tourism will give a further boost to the country’s economy.

A growing body of evidence suggests that cannabis and its constituents have a number of therapeutic benefits. And the number of conditions that reportedly benefit from cannabinoid medicine is growing. Thus, a survey published earlier this week, had found that 8% of German patients with Parkinson’s disease were using cannabis products, and 54% of those said they helped with their symptoms.

Meanwhile, in Costa Rica, a clear majority is in favor of legalizing medical cannabis. A 2019 survey found that 60% of Costa Ricans were in favor of the move. There’s an initiative proposing to allow the use of essential oils of the plant for medicinal purposes. Legislators Paola Valladares, of the PLN, and independent Zoila Volio urge the president to facilitate passing of the law.

The deputies argue that reform will not only provide relief to the country’s many patients suffering from severe conditions, but will create more than 4,000 permanent jobs and open for local businesses an expanding international market of marijuana-based medicines. It is estimated to be worth $14.5 billion by 2025.

However, the proposed bill is currently not a priority for the Government, and it doesn’t seem likely that the country will follow in Mexico’s footsteps in the coming sessions.

Mexico’s new medical cannabis law is not to be confused with the recreational use legislation currently debated in the lower house. The deputies have until April 2021 to come up with a decision. If they decide it’s time to legalize the substance in the country, this would create the largest regulated cannabis market not only in Latin America, but in the world.

In 2013, Uruguay became the first country to allow adult use of the substance. In 2018, Canada followed suit. More than half of the states in the US have passed laws regulating medical marijuana, and 10, including the District of Columbia, have chosen to allow its recreational use as well.

Still, the federal prohibition of the plant and its psychoactive derivatives remains in place in the US, and even large international seed manufacturers with American ties, such as FastBuds, are forced to operate from elsewhere. This particular ‘seed bank’ chose Spain as its homebase, selling the best autoflowering marijuana seeds worldwide.

The global legal cannabis market is projected to grow by more than 18% annually and reach close to $74 billion by 2027.

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