Despite concerns over the wording of Costa Rica’s draft hemp law by the country’s Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), the ministry has reported the beginning of hemp cultivation trials at two sites where scientists will observe the plant’s performance within the country’s agronomic and agro-ecological conditions.
The new hemp law moving through Costa Rica’s legislative process was approved by a critical environmental commission last week.
The trials, which represent the primary authorized planting of hemp in Costa Rica, aim to see how hemp varieties will adapt to climate, rainfall, length of daylight, soil conditions, and susceptibility to pests and diseases.
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Suite Of Climatic Conditions
A total of 12 hemp varieties are going to be planted in greenhouses at the Los Diamantes experimental station at Guápiles within the northeast part of the country and the Enrique Jiménez Núñez experimental station in Cañas, 200 kilometres to the west.
The two sites are in several micro-climates – humid tropics and dry tropics. Countries at tropical latitudes have struggled to seek out hemp varieties that will flourish in hot, humid conditions where the daylight is short.
“This will shorten the training process and allow us to transfer the leads to an agile team thanks to those curious about developing the crop,” the ministry said during a statement announcing the trials.
MAG Minister Renato Alvarado has expressed discomfort with a proposed cannabis bill that embraces hemp, suggesting the law as written runs the danger of hemp fields being grown to hide marijuana plantations.
The Report Expected In 6 Months
The trials are being conducted by Costa Rica’s National Institute for Innovation and Transfer of Agricultural Technology (INTA), working with FITTACORI, the inspiration for the Promotion of Research and Agricultural Technology Transfer of Costa Rica.
Hemp cultivars selected for the trials include those specifically for fibre, seed, and flower production. A report of results is predicted in six months.
President Carlos Alvarado has said that developing a hemp industry in Costa Rica should play a role within its economic development efforts, suggesting local experts should explore the plant for its potential in food supplements, health & beauty products, bioplastics, green building, and textiles.
Cannabis bill advances
The bill that might authorize hemp for food and industrial uses is advancing within the Costa Rican Congress. The proposed law, which might also allow the medicinal and therapeutic use of cannabis, was approved by the Legislature Environment Commission last week.
The bill’s author, Zoila Volio, said that if the Legislature approves the proposal, economic activity will generate new financing for the state-supported by the tenth tax on net profits. The initiative will now attend the Legislature for discussion and final vote.
‘Free cultivation’ of hemp
“The price of medical cannabis licenses are going to be established by executive decree. On the opposite hand, hemp is going to be freely cultivated since it has not been categorized as a drug because it does not have psychoactive effects,” Volio said.
The Costa Rican Social Security Fund, responsible for the country’s health sector, and public universities would even be authorized to hold out research and produce drugs and products for therapeutic use.
Under the measure as written, hemp production would be controlled by the Ministries of Health and Agriculture under “free cultivation” status.
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