Portugal famously decriminalized cannabis in 2001 along with all other drugs, but very little progress towards regulation has been made since then. Even while most of Europe and many other countries around the world are mobilizing towards cannabis law reforms, Portugal maintains the stance of illegal yet tolerated.
An unregulated, black market worth an estimated €106m per year currently holds a monopoly on cannabis cultivation and distribution throughout Portugal.
In January 2018, the influential Doctors’ Association have called for legalization of cannabis-based medicines, and on the same day a draft bill was debated in parliament which would allow patients to grow cannabis at home.
Medical and therapeutic cannabis use was finally approved on 15 June 2018 in the Portuguese parliament. The bill’s first draft had previously been approved by the political health commission, but home-cultivation was later removed before the amended version was passed.
Portugal CBD Legislation
Hemp / CBD Oil – Legal
Pharmaceutical Cannabis – Only Sativex is legally available.
Medical Cannabis – Medical cannabis is legal as of July 2018
Recreational Cannabis – Inconsistent. Technically illegal, but all drugs were decriminalized in 2001.
Portugal CBD Legal Status Overview
Portugal is historically regarded as a trailblazer in drug reform since Law 30/2000 was passed in 2000, formally decriminalizing personal consumption and possession of all illegal drugs. Anyone caught with illegal drugs can still be punished by fines or rehabilitation orders, but in practice most cases are suspended.
The cultivation of cannabis is currently still illegal after being specifically exempted from the law reform in 2000. Portugal then became one of the only countries in Europe to make possession of cannabis cultivation equipment including seeds illegal after legislation was passed in 2003. Despite these law reforms, Portugal has still developed quite a significant industry of cannabis cultivators.
Political parties presented a bill to parliament in January 2018 advocating for the legalization of medical cannabis under prescription and allowing citizens permission to cultivate low THC cannabis. Before passing the bill, the Portugal government requested expert advice from industry experts, doctors, pharmaceutical institutions, and civil society. The bill was finally passed in June, allowing the prescription of medical cannabis, but the section allowing personal cultivation was removed. The political parties who presented this bill hope they can still avoid creation of a state-run monopoly on cannabis cultivation.
Portugal CBD Law Reform
The recent passing of the bill legalizing medications containing cannabis will most likely introduce more such medications into the Portuguese market. While the regulatory process for patients has not been determined as yet, the number of patients who turn to black market cannabis in Portugal for lack of a better alternative is certain to impacted.
Portugal have green lit two large cannabis cultivation projects to supply medical cannabis internally and may decide to begin exports, plus they have a unique opportunity to develop clinical trials.
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