Costa Rica is one of the most developed nations in Central America. It has the highest human development index score of all mainland Central America, just beating Panama. Unfortunately though, that high development score does not mean Costa Rica has legal marijuana.
Both recreational and medicinal marijuana use remains illegal in Costa Rica, but there are a few caveats to this.
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Medical Marijuana In Costa Rica
Although marijuana is still not classed as a legal medicine, there have been some developments to this recently. Currently, the government is reviewing a bill that would legalize the production, cultivation, and export of marijuana for medical use. This would not legally allow cannabis to be consumed in Costa Rica for medical reasons, however. Rather, this would simply be a new export for the country.
Although this would still leave the residents of Costa Rica without access to legal medical marijuana, it would be an important step. Assuming this new industry does become operational, expanding this to the domestic market in the future would be a logical next step.
Recreational Marijuana In Costa Rica
The caveat to recreational marijuana is that, while not legal, possession and cultivation of small quantities for personal use has been decriminalized. Costa Rica amended its drug laws in 2004, partially decriminalizing marijuana and other drugs.
The Costa Rican government is also looking to hemp as a way to stimulate the economy post-pandemic. President Carlos Alvarado included this in his annual report, highlighting the versatility of the plant. This could lead to CBD production and regulation, an important part of any medical marijuana program.
Costa Rica has long been a hot spot for expat retirees. While the country isn’t famous for its weed tourism like Jamaica is, this is slowly changing. It’s not uncommon to see locals rolling a joint around the bars or beaches.
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While this can be somewhat comforting, don’t let this give you a false sense of security. If caught, your fate will often depend on the police officer at the time. Costa Rica has seen an increase in drug-related violence recently, and often police will view marijuana use the same as harder drugs. In general though the country has been making some progress around marijuana in recent years. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing legal marijuana in Costa Rica soon.