San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
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Medical marijuana proposal in Costa Rica gets Health Ministry review

The Costa Rican Health Ministry outlined its expert opinion on a pending bill to legalize marijuana and hemp for medical and industrial use in Costa Rica. On Tuesday, the Health Ministry outlined how the medical marijuana bill would be implemented with some restrictions for users.

Ruling Citizen Action Party (PAC) lawmaker Marvin Atencio presented a bill in August 2014 that would legalize the growing, processing and sale of cannabis for medical and industrial use. Costa Rica would be the first country in Central America to legalize medical marijuana if lawmakers decide to pass the proposal.

The ministry did not torpedo the bill’s medical uses for marijuana but warned that recreational marijuana use was illegal. The statement said that the health authority would prohibit smoking marijuana as a way to ingest THC, the active ingredient of cannabis.

Medical marijuana would only be approved as a “last resort” treatment after all other options have been exhausted. Patients would have to go to a pharmacy to access prescription pot. Dispensaries, common in U.S. states where the drug has been legalized, would not be allowed.

The bill’s sponsor told The Tico Times that he was not concerned with the “last resort” phrasing.

“Marijuana is part of alternative medicine. This is just the legal way of expressing it. As a doctor, I’m not concerned about it,” Atencio said.

Users of medical marijuana under the bill would not be issued identification cards, the ministry said, something required in the original bill. The ministry said that issuing ID cards to medical marijuana users would be discriminatory. Instead, the Health Ministry and the Costa Rican Social Security System, the country’s socialized health care system, would follow existing rules for special prescriptions.

Atencio said that he did not agree with the ministry’s move against ID cards for legal marijuana users.

“In the legal environment of this country, the cards are needed to protect medical marijuana users,” he said, citing potential confusion for law enforcement if they find pot on someone.

The ministry added that there is no current law prohibiting the the registration or commercialization of medicine, food or cosmetics made from cannabis.

A medical marijuana conference, CannaCosta 2015, is set to take place in San José on June 6-7, on the heels of the Health Ministry’s opinion. The conference claimed to be the first of its kind in Central America to bring together doctors, scientists, business leaders and politicians to discuss the legal medical and industrial use of marijuana and hemp. Seats are free but limited.

Atencio said that the bill is still far down on the agenda for discussion in a commission before it can reach the floor for a vote. The PAC lawmaker said he is more hopeful when an extraordinary session begins in August and Casa Presidencial sets the legislative agenda.

“We’re very happy to see a positive response from the Health Ministry. This is an important bill for the country,”Atencio said.

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Brian Kelly

When a loved one is in pain, wasting away unable to eat, and needs this marvelous herb in order to increase their appetite, reduce the overwhelming pain, and live as as healthy and happily as they can with the time they have left, let’s have the compassion to allow them to have it.

Stop treating Medical Marijuana Patients like second rate citizens and common criminals by forcing them to the dangerous black market for their medicine.

Risking incarceration to obtain the medicine you need is no way to be forced to live.

Support Medical Marijuana Now!

“[A] federal policy that prohibits physicians from alleviating suffering by prescribing marijuana for seriously ill patients is misguided, heavy-handed, and inhumane.” — Dr. Jerome Kassirer, “Federal Foolishness and Marijuana,” editorial, New England Journal of Medicine, January 30, 1997

“[The AAFP accepts the use of medical marijuana] under medical supervision and control for specific medical indications.” — American Academy of Family Physicians, 1989, reaffirmed in 2001

“[We] recommend … allow[ing] [marijuana] prescription where medically appropriate.” — National Association for Public Health Policy, November 15, 1998

“Therefore be it resolved that the American Nurses Association will: — Support the right of patients to have safe access to therapeutic marijuana/cannabis under appropriate prescriber supervision.” — American Nurses Association, resolution, 2003

“The National Nurses Society on Addictions urges the federal government to remove marijuana from the Schedule I category immediately, and make it available for physicians to prescribe. NNSA urges the American Nurses’ Association and other health care professional organizations to support patient access to this medicine.” — National Nurses Society on Addictions, May 1, 1995

“[M]arijuana has an extremely wide acute margin of safety for use under medical supervision and cannot cause lethal reactions … [G]reater harm is caused by the legal consequences of its prohibition than possible risks of medicinal use.” — American Public Health Association, Resolution #9513, “Access to Therapeutic Marijuana/Cannabis,” 1995

“When appropriately prescribed and monitored, marijuana/cannabis can provide immeasurable benefits for the health and well-being of our patients … We support state and federal legislation not only to remove criminal penalties associated with medical marijuana, but further to exclude marijuana/cannabis from classification as a Schedule I drug.” — American Academy of HIV Medicine, letter to New York Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, November 11, 2003

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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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Brian Kelly

Nobody can deny the Medical effectiveness of Medical Marijuana. Below is a small sampling of Professional Medical Organizations Worldwide that attest to Medical Marijuana’s effectiveness and Support Legal Access to and Use of Medical Marijuana. . Along with over 20 U.S states that have legalized medical marijuana.

Are they ALL wrong?

International and National Organizations

AIDS Action Council
AIDS Treatment News
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Medical Student Association
American Nurses Association
American Preventive Medical Association
American Public Health Association
American Society of Addiction Medicine
Arthritis Research Campaign (United Kingdom)
Australian Medical Association (New South Wales) Limited
Australian National Task Force on Cannabis
Belgian Ministry of Health
British House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology
British House of Lords Select Committee On Science and Technology (Second Report)
British Medical Association
Canadian AIDS Society
Canadian Special Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs
Dr. Dean Edell (surgeon and nationally syndicated radio host)
French Ministry of Health
Health Canada
Kaiser Permanente
Lymphoma Foundation of America
The Montel Williams MS Foundation
Multiple Sclerosis Society (Canada)
The Multiple Sclerosis Society (United Kingdom)
National Academy of Sciences Institute Of Medicine (IOM)
National Association for Public Health Policy
National Nurses Society on Addictions
Netherlands Ministry of Health
New England Journal of Medicine
New South Wales (Australia) Parliamentary Working Party on the Use of Cannabis for Medical Purposes
Dr. Andrew Weil (nationally recognized professor of internal medicine and founder of the National Integrative Medicine Council)

State and Local Organizations

Alaska Nurses Association
Being Alive: People With HIV/AIDS Action Committee (San Diego, CA)
California Academy of Family Physicians
California Nurses Association
California Pharmacists Association
Colorado Nurses Association
Connecticut Nurses Association
Florida Governor’s Red Ribbon Panel on AIDS
Florida Medical Association
Hawaii Nurses Association
Illinois Nurses Association
Life Extension Foundation
Medical Society of the State of New York
Mississippi Nurses Association
New Jersey State Nurses Association
New Mexico Medical Society
New Mexico Nurses Association
New York County Medical Society
New York State Nurses Association
North Carolina Nurses Association
Rhode Island Medical Society
Rhode Island State Nurses Association
San Francisco Mayor’s Summit on AIDS and HIV
San Francisco Medical Society
Vermont Medical Marijuana Study Committee
Virginia Nurses Association
Whitman-Walker Clinic (Washington, DC)
Wisconsin Nurses Association

Additional AIDS Organizations

The following organizations are signatories to a February 17, 1999 letter to the US Department of Health petitioning the federal government to “make marijuana legally available … to people living with AIDS.”

AIDS Action Council
AIDS Foundation of Chicago
AIDS National Interfaith Network (Washington, DC)
AIDS Project Arizona
AIDS Project Los Angeles
Being Alive: People with HIV/AIDS Action Committee (San Diego, CA)
Boulder County AIDS Project (Boulder, CO)
Colorado AIDS Project
Center for AIDS Services (Oakland, CA)
Health Force: Women and Men Against AIDS (New York, NY)
Latino Commission on AIDS
Mobilization Against AIDS (San Francisco, CA)
Mothers Voices to End AIDS (New York, NY)
National Latina/o Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual And Transgender Association
National Native American AIDS Prevention Center
Northwest AIDS Foundation
People of Color Against AIDS Network (Seattle, WA)
San Francisco AIDS Foundation
Whitman-Walker Clinic (Washington, DC)

Other Health Organizations

The following organizations are signatories to a June 2001 letter to the US Department of Health petitioning the federal government to “allow people suffering from serious illnesses … to apply to the federal government for special permission to use marijuana to treat their symptoms.”

Addiction Treatment Alternatives
AIDS Treatment Initiatives (Atlanta, GA)
American Public Health Association
American Preventive Medical Association
Bay Area Physicians for Human Rights (San Francisco, CA)
California Legislative Council for Older Americans
California Nurses Association
California Pharmacists Association
Embrace Life (Santa Cruz, CA)
Gay and Lesbian Medical Association
Hawaii Nurses Association
Hepatitis C Action and Advisory Coalition
Life Extension Foundation
Maine AIDS Alliance
Minnesota Nurses Association
Mississippi Nurses Association
National Association of People with AIDS
National Association for Public Health Policy
National Women’s Health Network
Nebraska AIDS Project
New Mexico Nurses Association
New York City AIDS Housing Network
New York State Nurses Association Ohio Patient Network Okaloosa AIDS Support and Information Services (Fort Walton, FL)
Physicians for Social Responsibility – Oregon
San Francisco AIDS Foundation
Virginia Nurses Association
Wisconsin Nurses Association

Health Organizations Supporting Medical Marijuana Research

International and National Organizations

American Cancer Society
American Medical Association
British Medical Journal
California Medical Association
California Society on Addiction Medicine
Congress of Nursing Practice
Gay and Lesbian Medical Association
Jamaican National Commission on Ganja
National Institutes of Health (NIH) Workshop on the Medical Utility of Marijuana
Texas Medical Association
Vermont Medical Society
Wisconsin State Medical Society

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Florida GreenDoctors

Good Bill..

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“Medical marijuana would only be approved as a “last resort” treatment after all other options have been exhausted.”

The above statement makes it very clear that Costa Rica still lacks compassion and reason on this issue. Using medical cannabis should be one of the very first line of treatments available for a wide variety of serious illnesses. It is very effective for many infirmities (not only cancer), less costly than most prescription drugs, has very few side effects and is one of the safest medications on earth. No one has ever died from consuming marijuana and no other medicine I am aware of can make that claim.

Costa Rica currently gives it’s citizens a tough choice. They can follow the law and suffer and die or break the law and get relief and live.

If I followed the current nonsensical laws and did not use cannabis as medicine, I would not be alive to write this!

I beg those involved in this issue to do the compassionate thing for the people of Costa Rica and allow this medicine to be readily available to those who need it now and not as a last resort.

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Gerry Adams

Soon crack will be legal….

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What is your point?

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