Two political parties in Portugal, Left Bloc and Liberal Initiative, have each presented proposed laws for adult-use cannabis legalisation in the country this week, according to a report in Portugal News.
The draft laws each propose that the consumption, cultivation, acquisition or possession of cannabis plants for personal use should no longer constitute a misdemeanour nor criminal offence, and that the reference to cannabis and its derivatives should be removed from the tables annexed to the legal framework applicable to the trafficking and consumption of narcotics and psychotropic substances.
At the opening of the debate, MP Fabian Figueiredo quoted the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, who said it is time to realise “that drugs are infinitely more dangerous if left in the hands of criminals who have no concern for health and safety”.
Portugal has long taken a progressive approach towards drug policy. In 2001, the country decriminalised the personal possession of all drugs as part of a wider initiative focused on public health. Person’s caught with drugs for personal use do not face the risk of a criminal record or jail time. Instead, drugs may be confiscated, and the police may issue fines or community service.
Prohibition Partners reported that the Left Bloc party is proposing state control of the entire cultivation, production and distribution of a legal cannabis market, including a register of cannabis users. While the Liberal Initiative party proposes little-to-no state control over cultivation, trade or consumption. The Left bloc proposes a ban on synthetic products and processed products, such as infused alcoholic drinks, whereas the Liberal Initiative say these should be allowed.
Both of the bills will now be sent to the Health Committee for 60 days, during which public hearings can be made, amendments presented and negotiations carried out before the deciding vote occurs in Parliament.