Recreational cannabis legalization to be discussed in Portugal

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The Portuguese Social Democratic Party (SDP) has announced the preparation of a proposal requesting the legalization of cannabis use for recreational purposes. The proposal will be presented at the next Portuguese parliamentary legislative election, which will take place this October.

Ricardo Baptista Leite, SDP deputy, who presents solid arguments to defend the proposal, said to the Portuguese press: “Right now we have enough scientific evidence to support this step, within a tight regulatory model, based on international reports and in coherence with the already approved laws”.

A similar proposal had already been presented by two other parties at the beginning of this year, but the parliament voted both down. According to Ricardo Baptista Leite, the only reason those proposals didn’t pass the vote was due to the fact that they included the legalization of personal cannabis cultivation, with a 5 or 6-plant-per-household limit, which the current proposal does not include.

The SDP is still working on this new recreational cannabis proposal, but the deputy already said they would like the plant to be sold in community pharmacies, and that the price of legal cannabis should equal those seen in the black market, as to decrease the strength of illegal and uncontrolled sales.

According to the same source, if approved, the proposal also states that users will be required to sign their names on a buyer database, in order to avoid purchases above the permitted individual dosage.

The buyers will need to be aged over 21 “since the risk for schizophrenia and psychosis is associated with cannabis users below 18”, Leite says. Also, the deputy refers that “there would need to be a concentration limit set for THC and CBD, as to avoid the market entry of high potency products”.

The medicinal use of cannabis was legalized in Portugal in 2018. The Portuguese law authorizes the use of cannabis-derived preparations, but not the whole plant, and the cultivation of cannabis or preparation of cannabis-derived medicines is illegal with only a few exceptions.

Cannabis legalization in Portugal is a hot topic as the legalization of recreational cannabis use was already voted down twice this year, but the parliament members refuse to give up on the subject, recognizing the benefits that Cannabis legalization in Portugal may have, not just in terms of health, but also on financial, political, and social levels.

If the proposal is approved, this event may set the example for other European countries to follow, thus expanding even further the already highly active cannabis and cannabis-derived products markets.

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