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Weed in Portugal: Cannabis Legal Status Guide

Author
ผู้เขียน Ryan Allan
08 August 2022
“Is weed legal in Portugal?” is a common question of cannabis lovers while travelling to Portugal. We've got you covered
08 August 2022
33 min read
Weed in Portugal: Cannabis Legal Status Guide

เนื้อหา:
อ่านเพิ่มเติม
  • 1. Cannabis laws in portugal
  • 1. a. Possession
  • 1. b. Sale
  • 1. c. Growing
  • 2. Is cbd legal in portugal?
  • 3. Is it legal to send cannabis seeds to portugal?
  • 4. Medicinal cannabis in portugal
  • 5. Industrial hemp in portugal
  • 6. Politics and history
  • 7. Good to know

Home to over 10 million people, Portugal is considered to be one of the most progressive countries in the world when it comes to cannabis law. However, despite those perceptions, there remains some confusion about how legal cannabis actually is in the beautiful Iberian Peninsula nation. In this article, we will clear up those confusions and answer all of the pertinent questions when it comes to cannabis law in Portugal.

1. Cannabis laws in Portugal

So, Is Weed Legal in Portugal?  In short, not exactly. Let us explain…Over twenty years ago, the Portuguese government took the bold decision to decriminalize the use of all drugs, including cannabis in 2001, with a focus instead on treatment rather than criminalizing users. Adopting a progressive and innovative approach to an increasingly serious issue of drug addiction in the country, the levels of drug use within the country have significantly reduced in the intervening twenty years.

 

Weed in portugal: cannabis laws in portugal

Portugal decriminalized the use of all drugs in 2001.
 

Despite its decriminalization for recreational users, cannabis remains illegal to grow, sell, possess or consume in Portugal unless for medical purposes. Nevertheless, anyone found to be in possession of marijuana for recreational use will not face any criminal charges unless the quantity is above 25 gr. Furthermore, medicinal cannabis was legalized in Portugal in 2018. However, only those with a doctor's prescription can obtain medical marijuana from states licensed pharmacies and dispensaries.

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Possession

Given its decriminalization, Portuguese laws allow for cannabis consumers to possess and consume marijuana, provided the quantity does not exceed the needs of their personal consumption for a period of approximately ten days. In other words, if you’re carrying only small quantities, you won’t face any legal consequences. In quantitive terms, anyone found with less than 25 grams of cannabis flower or 5 grams of hash will face no criminal consequences.

However, if caught possessing a small quantity of cannabis, the individual will be referred to the local Commission for Dissuasion of Drug Addiction. This process is undertaken to determine whether treatment is necessary to treat a potential addiction. In this respect, the law is a little vague in that it quantifies a “small quantity” as an amount not exceeding what would be considered normal for individual consumption over a 10-day period. Under the regulations, the maximum limit on allowed daily doses of recreational cannabis is as follows:

 

  • Flowers and leaves — 2.5 g (average concentration of 2% THC)
  • Resin — 0.5 g (average concentration of 10% THC)
  • Oil — 0.25 g (average concentration of 20% THC).

 

Cannabis possession and consumption offenses have also been downgraded to administrative offenses. Anyone found in possession of more than the authorized levels can expect a small fine between 25 and 100 €

Sale

While possession and consumption have been decriminalized, the unauthorized sale of cannabis remains very much illegal within Portugal. Anyone caught supplying or trafficking marijuana is liable for a lengthy prison sentence of anywhere between one and twelve years, depending on the seriousness of the offense.  Indeed, Portuguese law will take into account the nature of the offense, i.e. if the crime has been committed to fund the person's own usage of the substance. Typically, sentences are far lighter for this type of offenders. 

 

Weed in portugal: growing

Cannabis growing and the sale of growing equipment remain illegal.

Growing

The cultivation of cannabis remains illegal in Portugal, despite failed attempts to pass a bill back in 2018. While the Portuguese government of the era considered legalizing cannabis cultivation back in 2001, they instead made a specific exemption from the decriminalization of drug laws.

As a result, cannabis growing continues to remain illegal, as does the sale of tools and equipment related to its cultivation. Having said that, there are as many grow shops in Portugal as anywhere else in the world.

2. Is CBD legal in Portugal?

Yes, CBD oil is permitted for use in Portugal, but as you might expect, there are some rules that must be adhered to in order to consume it legally. Up until 2018, it was possible to purchase CBD in a shop or store as a food supplement. However, following the legalization of medicinal cannabis, CBD in Portugal is only permitted for medicinal use if the consumer has a doctor’s prescription. As we mentioned earlier, Portugal decriminalized the use of all drugs back in 2001, including cannabis. However, following the 2018 law changes regarding the use of medical marijuana, CBD was re-classified as a medical-only product that now requires a doctor’s prescription.

Using Google Maps, we have been able to locate a lot of CBD shops In Lisbon as well as online stores that deliver all over Portugal. They sell not only CBD oil and CBD-infused edibles and drinks but also dry flowers of CBD-rich strains.

3. Is it Legal to Send Cannabis Seeds to Portugal?

Unfortunately, despite a more liberal and progressive approach to the use of cannabis, Portuguese law does not permit the possession, sale, or purchasing of cannabis seeds without an industrial license. However, weed growers in Portugal find no difficulty in obtaining cannabis seeds from online sellers. An order from the neighboring Spain, for example, may arrive as quickly as 24-48 hours.

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4. Medicinal Cannabis in Portugal

Medicinal cannabis was legalized in Portugal following the passing of a bill in the summer of 2018. Under the regulations presented in the bill, it is stated that all cannabis treatments can only be prescribed by a physician or doctor and only under the condition that other conventional treatments have proved unsuccessful. Patients suffering from the following conditions could be eligible for medicinal marijuana in Portugal. 

  • Chronic pain, 
  • Cancer therapy
  • PTSD
  • Other conditions (determined by physician)

Anyone seeking marijuana as a medical treatment within Portugal will require a license from a governmental organization known as Infarmed. This area of the Portuguese Health Ministry is responsible for the regulation, evaluation, and control of all medicines and health products for the protection of public health. As a result of the medical legalization of cannabis in Portugal, a medical cannabis plantation was constructed with the plants expected to be used both domestically and exported for wider use. 

5. Industrial Hemp in Portugal

Portugal has a long and rich history of hemp cultivation, with large swathes of the population once using it for a variety of different purposes, including the creation of ropes and sails. Indeed, it is even said their reputation as great seafarers stems from their exceptional utilization of hemp. Today, like much of Europe, the production of industrial hemp is legal; however, as you might have guessed, there are some conditions that must first be adhered to. 

 

  • Plants must contain no more than the 0.2% THC legal threshold. 
  • A permit must be obtained from Portugal’s Ministry of Agriculture. 
  • Hemp farms are subject to regular inspections throughout the year.

 

While the production of hemp in Portugal is heavily regulated, it is estimated that 14.2 hectares of hemp were cultivated between 2015 and 2018. However, the introduction of the medicinal cannabis laws in 2018 created a new set of problems for hemp farmers with a new demand for marijuana that contained more than 0.2% THC. As a consequence, the cultivation of hemp had been temporarily put on hiatus until January 2022.

 

Weed in portugal: industrial hemp in portugal

Growing hemp outdoors is permitted although it's still illegal to grow hemp in greenhouses.
 

However. thanks to an amendment to the cannabis laws in Portugal at the beginning of 2022, the cultivation of hemp for industrial purposes has now resumed having been differentiated from the cultivation of the cannabis plant for medicinal purposes. As a result, the amendment dictates that hemp may only be grown in outdoor environments while also prohibiting the cultivation of plants within greenhouses. In addition, the size of the production area has been set at a minimum of half a hectare, thus eliminating smaller farms from the market.

6. Politics and History

With their liberal and progressive attitudes towards weed use, there is great hope that full legality could be on the country’s horizon. As we know, personal use of cannabis is no longer a crime, and as more of the country becomes comfortable with the idea of medical marijuana usage, it is expected that Portugal could follow the example of countries like Canada and Uruguay, where the plant has been fully legalized. With a climate that is near ideal for the cultivation of cannabis, the potential for the country to legalize and embolden its economy significantly is one that will surely prove alluring for the Portuguese government in the years to come. 

Historically, a proud nation and a once-dominant global force, it is believed that the Portuguese were first introduced to cannabis during the height of their colonial reign in the sixteenth century. First encountering it in India, Mozambique, and Angola, it is also thought that the Portuguese introduced cannabis to Brazil, and it is assumed that traders would bring both hash and cannabis back to the Portuguese mainland. However, as we moved into the later part of the 20th century, Portuguese attitudes towards cannabis became largely negative. During the 1980s and 1990s, the country would develop serious issues related to drugs, with society in general largely turned off to the idea of any kind of cannabis legalization.

 

Cannabis Use in Previous Twelve Months - 2020 Data
Country Percentage of population using cannabis
Czech Republic  11.1%
France 11%
Spain 10.5%
Croatia 10.2%
Italy 10.1%
Netherlands 10.1%
Finland 8.2%
UK 7.1%
Germany 7.1%
Ireland 7.1%
Portugal 6.9%

 

However, that would all change when, in 1998, the Commission for National Drug Strategy (CNDS) issued a report that recommended a litany of drug policy reform. As part of their recommendations, the CNDS suggested that the country instead focuses on rehabilitation treatments rather than the existing system, which had sought to criminalize drug users. As a consequence of the report, which also highlighted the crippling effect on the nation’s economy of the ever-increasing numbers of those incarcerated for drug use, including that of cannabis, Portugal took the highly unusual step of decriminalizing all drugs in 2001.

Since the radical measures introduced over twenty years ago, the country has significantly reduced drug-related crime as well as overdoses and addiction. At present, it is estimated that 6.9% of the population regularly consumes weed, some way less than leading consuming nations like France and Spain, where the average number of users is typically more than 10%.

7. Good to Know

While marijuana has yet to be fully legalized in Portugal, there are a number of cannabis social clubs beginning to operate. Not yet at the level of neighboring Spain, Lisbon and Oporto are two of the country’s hotspots for the local cannabis social club scene. Run by its members and not technically “legal”, these cannabis associations operate as “non-profit” organizations where the club can cultivate marijuana for their members. While the Lisbon cannabis café remains limited in scope, there is hope that an improved version of the Barcelona/Spain model could be adopted in years to come. 

Unfortunately, proposals to legalize the cultivation of cannabis at these locations were denied in 2013, and despite the success of similar operations in Spain, weed in Portugal remains someway behind in the European cannabis culture movements. However, with its relaxed approach to marijuana usage, and offering some of the world´s most spectacular scenery and culinary experiences, Portugal is a country that remains high on the list of those looking for a canna-friendly holiday experience.