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Location of Portugal within Europe

Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic is a unitary semi-presidential republic. It is located in South-Western Europe, on the Iberian Peninsula, and it is the westernmost country of mainland Europe, being bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south and by Spain to the north and east.

Legal Status

Consumption and Possession

In Portugal, recreational use of cannabis is forbidden by law; also the medicinal use is not yet officially recognized (there is debate and legislators have proposed bills in the Portuguese Parliament). Portugal signed all the UN conventions on narcotics and psychotropic to date. With the 2001 decriminalization bill, the consumer is now regarded as a patient and not as a criminal (having the amount usually used for ten days of personal use is not a punishable crime) but repression persists. One can be sent to a dissuasion committee and have a talk or must pay a fee. According to the libertarian think tank Cato Institute, illegal drug use among Portuguese teenagers declined after 2001, and 45 percent of the country's heroin addicts sought medical treatment. But critics of the policy, such as the Association for a Drug-Free Portugal, say overall consumption of drugs in the country has actually risen by 4.2 percent since 2001 and claim the benefits of decriminalization are being "over-egged."

Cultivation and Distribution

The cultivation of cannabis, even if in very small-scale home grow for personal use only, can legally be prosecuted. However, an unknown number of enthusiasts of small-scale home growing grow the plants with a high degree of secrecy due to the legal punishment they could face if persecuted and due to potential social stigma as well. In 2003 another update to the "Portuguese drugs law" brought the criminalization of the possession of cannabis seeds, except certified industrial hemp seed. This law made the buying of cannabis seeds from legal and financially transparent online cannabis seed shops based in other European Union member states, such as neighbouring Spain or The Netherlands, an unlawful transaction when performed by a Portuguese residing in Portugal. The provision of seeds and tools to produce and consume cannabis etc. is also illegal in the country. Production and distribution of hemp products is legal but regulated. There are a few hemp shops in Portugal and hemp products are legal.

Additional Resources


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