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Social Security System president denies Caja approved medicinal marijuana in Costa Rica

The president of Costa Rica’s Social Security System, María del Rocío Sáenz Madrigal, on Friday denied stories by several local media outlets stating that the agency’s board of directors had approved the medicinal use of cannabis.

Caja board members on Thursday were complying with a Legislative Assembly request to evaluate the drafting of a bill that would propose the regulation of growing, processing and marketing of cannabis for medicinal use, Sáenz explained.

“After analyzing various technical reports issued by Caja experts, this board concluded that we do not oppose the bill in its current form. However, in order to respect our autonomy, we recommended changes to the draft of at least three separate articles, specifically regulating the approval [of cannabis], to make it clear that adoption of new legislation would not imply any type of obligation for the Caja,” she said.

Sáenz said the board’s actions are normal procedure followed regularly in several other cases where the Assembly has submitted a bill for consultation. The approval of medical marijuana, she said, “will be decided only by lawmakers.”

Bill #19,256 was drafted by ruling Citizen Action Party lawmaker Marvin Atencio Delgado and submitted for consideration by the Assembly in August.

The bill does not include proposals to legalize recreational use, but rather “to regulate the research and control of medicinal, food and industrial use of cannabis plants.”

It also states that medicinal cannabis would be made available only to registered patients and would be dispensed only at the Caja via a new agency responsible for research, regulation and control.

The bill seeks to establish the scope and regulation of all processes involved, including “growing, harvesting, processing, storage, distribution, manufacturing, marketing, transportation, sale, use and consumption of different varieties of cannabis (Cannabis indica, cannabis sativa and cannabis ruderalis), in order to define limits, presentations, authorized purposes and uses.”

The proposal is currently on the Legislative Assembly’s agenda and could be discussed and voted on as early as next month.

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At least they are talking about talking recognizing the plant for what it is.

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medical cannabis

dear Tico Times,
Misleading readers by giving a wrong perception of what the caja says, is not only dishonest, but it puts into question the rest of your articles.
You have the right to have your opinion, you don’t have to like the fact that Costa Rica is opening its doors to new cures accepted elsewhere. As people who are trying to help patients, for whom this natural cure could help cut down on the use of more dangerous and synthetic drugs, we often encounter this kind of resistance. The practices are always the same, and sadly Tico Times is no exception to that rule. Out of thousands of positive researches which have been published, only selecting the ones that can criticize and omitting the others, posting titles that even if not corresponding with the content of an article will impress on people perception, all this under a supposed objective tone. It’s a pity that a newspaper like yours is doing it.

From a long time reader who happens to believe more in science than in scare tactics.

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After completely reading through bill #19,256 it is my opinion (comparing with existing legislation elsewhere) that this is a piece of legislation designed for a very few people to make a lot of money. Restrictions and pricing will actually keep this valuable medicine from those who really need it. Instead of doing what every other country has done, this legislative bill limits growing cannabis to huge monopolies with unrealistic controls. There are huge fees (up to $150,000), massive new taxes (no surprise) and unnecessary barriers to entry for those wishing to grow and make medicine. There is no allowance for the personal growing of this medicine for patients which is especially important for those living in all the many remote places of the country. While a step in the right direction, I would hope to see a realistic bill that promotes healing and compassion over money.

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medical cannabis

Dear Survivor, congratulations for having read all of the law. Many critics obviously didn’t. Your concerns are wise. Let’s address them: As far as a monopoly is concerned, the bill that promotes both hemp and medical cannabis offers 275 licenses in total. Let me remind you that we are not talking about recreational cannabis, so for a country of that size, it’s actually more than other countries which follow the same steps. And I don’t think the word monopoly applies when you are offering that many licenses. Canada, a country who has been a leader in the medical field, offers fewer than 20 licenses for a population of 35 million people.
Fees: yes you are right out the 275 licenses offered, 8 cost 150K, and the other 267 others start at 5K up to 75K. If you read the law this was just the chapter below the numbers you
are mentioning. 5K allows to grow up to 3 hectares of hemp which brings between 10 to 15 times the revenues produced by pineapple, bananas, or sugar cane. “Massive new taxes”: 7% additional to your regular taxes. I don’t know how you define “massive” and which adjective you would have used if you had to pay 15%! it’s only normal and the rule all over the world. This money finances the free access to the drug through Caja for those who won’t be able to afford it. Sorry you don’t feel that it’s normal. Worries about access in remote parts of the country: in addition to 55 dispensaries, which is quite a lot for the size of the country, it will be available in the pharmacies in public hospitals, so this concern is well covered. Growing at home for your own use: I understand your concern. Some will do it responsibly, but some will abuse, and how can you control quality, real usage and efficiency? If you are really talking about medicine, it’s not a solution yet. As per seeing a bill that is more compassionate, I believe that the best way to that goal, is first to teach people how to use it properly, to understand its real application and risks, because if used incorrectly or too young it could create undesirable effects. No one pretends it’s the ultimate bill. It’s a brave and needed step to allow this really efficient and natural plant into the life of patients who would benefit from it. Let’s trust time. Research is growing everywhere, positive results on cancer and other severe diseases are appearing in the medical press. If indeed such peer reviewed studies are starting to be published, the doors will open wide by themselves.
You can decide to only criticize this bill or believe frustrated people who only talk about monopolies and pharmaceuticals, taking over, but read the law another time, look how the prices are controlled, how the small and large producers are actually at the same level.
Don’t fall for those who try to scare you. It’s a low level political technique that always ends up coming back to the face of those who use them. Thank you for sharing your concerns.

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You are close to correct when claiming Canada has 20 corporate cannibus licenced suppliers. More have been approved of this corporatization approach.
But, a judge has approved an injunction for a substantial group of self-producing licenced growers that the corporate loving Prime Minister Harper tried to strip of their right to produce their own medicine as well as a few collective small operators that grow for compassionate reasons.
Granted, the demand is growing, and large scale corporate operations may be nessesary, they most certainly should not be at the exclusion, for their own corporate greed, the exclusive producers.

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Ashley Javogue

Why did you put such a misleading title to this article?

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The general public in Costa Rica is very uninformed about medical cannabis. We need to incorporate science, fact, reason and compassion with public education for this to happen. I think folks in the media here need to step up to the plate.

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Josue Aguilar

They prefer people go to the black market to buy it, in this way they convince people that it is better to privatize the social health. Same way they did with the TLC. The president fooled people telling them gonna have more jobs. Now few years later, the people realize that the reality is the contrary to all what they say.

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Brian Kelly

Fear of Medical Marijuana Legalization is unfounded. Not based on any science or fact whatsoever.

So please, all prohibitionists, we beg you, give your scare tactics, “Conspiracy Theories” and “Doomsday Scenarios” over the inevitable Legalization of Medical Marijuana a rest. Nobody is buying them anymore these days. Okay?

Furthermore, if all prohibitionists get when they look into that nice, big and shiny crystal ball of theirs, while wondering about the future of Medical Marijuana Legalization Nationwide, is horror, doom, and despair, well then I suggest they return that thing as quickly as possible and reclaim the money they shelled out for it, since it’s obviously defective.

The prohibition of marijuana has not decreased the supply nor the demand for medical marijuana at all. Not one single iota, and it never will. Just a huge and complete waste of our tax dollars to continue criminalizing sick patients and senior citizens in pain for choosing a natural, non-toxic, relatively benign plant proven to be much safer than daily handfuls of deadly, toxic, man-made, highly addictive, narcotic pain pills and other pharmaceuticals.

If prohibitionists are going to take it upon themselves to worry about “saving us all” from ourselves, then they need to start with the drug that causes more death and destruction than every other drug in the world COMBINED, which is alcohol!

Why do prohibitionists feel the continued need to vilify and demonize marijuana when they could more wisely focus their efforts on a real, proven killer, alcohol, which again causes more destruction, violence, and death than all other drugs, COMBINED?

Prohibitionists really should get their priorities straight and or practice a little live and let live. They’ll live longer, happier, and healthier, with a lot less stress if they refrain from being bent on trying to control others through Draconian Marijuana Laws.

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