A little over a year since Costa Rica legalized hemp and medical cannabis, the country's Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Victor Carvajal, has granted Azul Wellness S.A. the first medical cannabis license. This significant development was reported by The Tico Times.

Azul Wellness, a Costa Rican company supported by José Álvaro Jenkins' family, is planning to build an 800-square-meter production and processing facility in the Guanacaste province. The company has also teamed up with Merida Capital Holdings, a US-based private equity firm specializing in medical cannabis. This collaboration aims to help Azul grow two psychoactive cannabis strains initially, with an emphasis on exporting their products.

Jenkins himself is optimistic about the project and has even expressed interest in establishing a medical cannabis laboratory in Costa Rica. He has previously supported the government's efforts to legalize recreational cannabis.

Alongside Azul's medical cannabis license, Carvajal has issued eight hemp cultivation authorizations, with two more applications for hemp cultivation and processing and one medical cannabis license still under review.

Costa Rica's hemp and medical cannabis industries were legalized in March 2022, followed by President Rodrigo Chaves proposing a draft law to lay the groundwork for the production and sale of these products. The Costa Rican government oversees the cannabis industry, with the Ministry of Health and the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock administering permits for industrial hemp and medical cannabis.

Around the same time, Chaves presented a bill to legalize recreational cannabis use in Costa Rica. Although he personally disagrees with cannabis consumption, he believes regulating the market is the best way to benefit the country.

As of January 2023, the government plans to submit a revised version of the recreational legalization bill after receiving feedback from various institutions. The original proposal would have allowed recreational cannabis companies to operate under the Free Trade Zone regime, enabling customers to purchase cannabis products at clubs, coffee shops, and other businesses.

However, several institutions opposed the proposal and called for its dismissal. While many businesses and institutions support the proposal, citing economic growth and opportunity, a University of Costa Rica survey revealed that only 35.4% of Costa Ricans support recreational legalization, compared to 76.5% who approve of medical cannabis.
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