2017 was a fantastic year for international cannabis reform with countries in South America, the Caribbean, Europe, and elsewhere ending the prohibition of marijuana in a variety of ways. But one of the regions that has been slow to adopt the global awakening of ganja has been Central America.
Other than Belize, which decriminalized cannabis possession in November, all other countries in the region are moving at a snail’s pace despite advocates pushing for a shift in attitude toward the plant.
One such advocate is Diego G also known as “Raven,” who has spent years lobbying the government of Costa Rica to allow for a medical marijuana sector in his country. When he is not advocating for cannabis, he’s producing medicinal marijuana illegally for patients who cannot get it elsewhere.
Marijuana.com is currently on the ground in Costa Rica and we caught up with Raven almost a year after originally speaking to him to discuss whether or not 2018 will be beneficial for cannabis lovers in the tropical paradise.
“We’re pretty much stuck in the same place we have been for the last few years,” he said. “We are a month away from an election and it’s hard to say what advancements there will be.”
Raven added that despite the stagnation of the government, a few parties do support cannabis reform and have said so publicly. These groups include Jhon Vega from The Workers Party, as well as a political party called Vamos, of which Raven is a member.
Despite the mountain of global evidence for cannabis as a viable medicine, there are still detractors in high places who continue to believe the falsehoods that have been spread over the last several decades.
“We have heard from the director of the health sector dedicated to drug abuse, IAFA, saying that he believes medicinal cannabis is a fallacy,” Raven said. “[He believes] there is no such thing as cannabis medicine and that the whole interest in it is to make money. To them, there is no other alternative than to continue the drug war.”
Raven also said there is a long way to go in regard to real cannabis education for the general public in order for them to accept the idea that marijuana is not a street drug. “I would say we are at a 60/40 percent, 60 being people who disagree with legalization, mainly because of ignorance.”
Raven said all is not lost, however. He believes if someone were to invest in a better education around cannabis, it would move the conversation forward. “We are in urgent need of investment for the country so we can [educate people]in regards to what legalization is.”
With a federal election happening Feb. 4, Raven hopes the incoming government will be favorable to the cannabis movement and shed the misrepresentation of yesteryear. “This year, with the elections, many of us are pushing towards a more direct approach which is to treat the patients and get them access, even if that means risking jail time.”