August 11th, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly will begin debate on a bill on Monday aimed at legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes.
The bill, aimed to “investigate, regulate and control cannabis for medicinal use,” was presented by PAC legislator, Marvin Atencio, who is also a medical doctor.
The 85-page bill would create a research institute specializing in the study of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Opposition party lawmaker, Ronny Monge (PLN) even supports the bill.
The bill was drafted after talks with the U.S. NGO known as LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition), which supports the decriminalization of marijuana.
At least 15 bills aimed at legalizing marijuana have been presented to the Assembly over the years, with supporters arguing that cannabis can be used in the treatment of diseases such as multiple sclerosis, depression, stress, and sleeping disorders.
Costa Rica’s Institute on Alcoholism and Drug Enforcement (IAFA), however, said in 2012 that such medicinal properties are unproven, and that marijuana can be addictive and lead to memory and learning difficulties.
According to a 2010 survey by IAFA, 7% of Costa Ricans have tried marijuana, and 2% are active consumers.