Costa Rica


Landmark Cannabis Case in Costa Rica Could Lead to Decriminalization

Costa Rica took a step towards becoming the next Latin American country to decriminalize cannabis this week, when attorney Mario Alberto Cerdas Salazar was cleared of cultivation charges on grounds of individual liberties.

Cerdas Salazar was arrested at his home in the city of Alajuela in August, after publicly advocating for a personal right to use and cultivate cannabis for medicinal and gastronomic purposes. He was charged with "drug trafficking," and has been held since.


Latin America’s Crackdown on Drugs Defies Its Progressive Rhetoric

“We were having dinner—my daughter, grandchild, and me,” says Ramona, a 67-year-old Mexican woman who is serving a sentence of four-and-a-half years in one of Mexico’s most dangerous prisons. “I was lying on the couch watching a soap opera … when I realized that there were several men inside the house yelling at me to hand over the drugs.”

The police, wearing masks, ransacked Ramona’s house and allegedly stole her personal belongings before hauling her off to the prosecutor’s office. They claimed they had witnessed her selling marijuana and crack cocaine to a man, though the man himself said he had never seen her before.


Costa Rican man had massive, 12-foot tall marijuana “tree” growing next to home

November 6th, 2015 (ICR News) A 27-year-old man was arrested after authorities discovered a massive, nearly 12-foot tall marijuana plant growing outdoors in his home’s garden patio in Aserrí.

Costa Rica’s Drug Control Police responded to the man’s home after an anonymous caller called the 1176 tip line.

The man was arrested on charges of drug possession.  The suspect had a previous charge of motor vehicle theft in 2011.


Do not ask to approve the legalization of marijuana in Costa Rica

Scientists believe that the law is dangerous because it can cause physical and mental damage in people who consume cannabis and cause violence in the country

The National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine of Costa Rica asked the Legal Committee (Subject No. 19256 file), for a law related to research, regulation and control of cannabis and cannabis for medicinal use, industrial and food.

The representative of the National Academy of Sciences, Daniel Pizarro Torres said there are not enough scientific studies proving significant results of cannabis. For that reason, it is not considered advisable to approve any project on the topic. 


Pigeon caught smuggling drugs into Costa Rican prison

A pigeon smuggling cocaine and cannabis into a Costa Rican prison has been caught by guards. The winged criminal was intercepted as it landed in the grounds of the medium security La Reforma jail, in San Rafael de Alajuela.

Guards found a small sack strapped to the bird's chest containing around 14g of cocaine and 14g of cannabis.

Costa Rica's Ministry of Justice and Peace posted a mugshot online of the bird, using the headline "narcopaloma", meaning "drugs dove".

Guards believe the pigeon was groomed by an inmate, who had trained it to act as a courier.

It was taken to a zoo, where keepers said it may have to remain in captivity, as it had become accustomed to being hand fed.


Costa Rica medical marijuana bill to be debated this month

August 3rd, 2015 (ICR News) A controversial medical marijuana bill is amongst 54 bills and initiatives that are scheduled to be read and debated in the extraordinary session of the Legislative Assembly, which begins on Monday and will continue through the month of August.

The bill seeks to legalize and regulate marijuana-derived medicines and medical treatments, including tablets, suppositories, ointments, sprays, patches, and injections amongst others.  The smoking of marijuana however would remain off-limits.

Supporters of the bill say that such treatments could benefit patients with diseases such as cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and a range of other afflictions.


Support and Opposition


US ambassador to Costa Rica talks marijuana legalization, trade US Foreign Policy

It took exactly one year between the day U.S. Ambassador Stafford Fitzgerald Haney was nominated in July, 2014 and the day he presented his credentials to President Luis Guillermo Solís. Haney’s arrival marked the end of a two-year absence of a U.S. ambassador in Costa Rica after former Ambassador Anne S. Andrew stepped down in 2013.

The Tico Times sat down with Haney at the U.S. Embassy in San José last week to hear his thoughts on U.S. foreign investment, foreign policy, Costa Rica’s leadership role in the region, and the possibility of medical marijuana legalization here.


Drug interdictions result in a loss of about $8 billion in revenue for drug traffickers

On June 12, crew members of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Vigilant offloaded 3,100 pounds of marijuana seized from a go-fast boat intercepted in the Caribbean Sea.

The story on how Coast Guard personnel seized the marijuana in late May in waters between Panama and the Colombian island of San Andrés emerged last week in Miami federal court records.

According to a criminal complaint filed by a special agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the action unfolded May 27 when a go-fast vessel was spotted traveling in international waters about 100 miles south of San Andrés Island, a Colombian possession east of Nicaragua and north of Panama.


Costa Rica Prepares to Launch Medical Marijuana Law

The Costa Rican government has outlined details for implementing a pending bill to research and regulate marijuana for medical uses.

The bill was introduced by ruling Citizen Action Party legislator Marvin Atencio last year to tax marijuana products and regulate the use of medical marijuana through registration cards for patients provided by the Ministry of Health.


Costa Rica is Ready to Debate Medical Marijuana Legislation

Drug Policy Alliance Press Release — Earlier this month, the Costa Rican Ministry of Health outlined the details for the implementation of a pending bill to research and regulate marijuana for medical and industrial purposes. The bill was introduced by ruling Citizen Action Party legislator Marvin Atencio last year to tax marijuana products and regulate the use of medical marijuana through registration cards for patients provided by the Ministry of Health.


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