Is Cannabis Legal in Portugal?

Portugal has some of the most relaxed laws when it comes to cannabis and other drugs. But what does this mean for tourists?

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The History of Cannabis in Portugal

Cannabis has been present in Portugal for centuries. The country was one of the first in Europe to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of the drug in 2001. However, it remains illegal to produce, sell, or consume cannabis in Portugal.

There have been a number of attempts to legalize cannabis in Portugal since 2001, but all have failed. In 2015, a bill was proposed that would have allowed for the cultivation and sale of cannabis. However, the bill was ultimately rejected by the Portuguese Parliament.

Despite its illegality, cannabis use is widespread in Portugal. A 2016 study found that 8.7% of adults in Portugal had used cannabis at least once in their lifetime. This is higher than the European average of 7%.

If you are caught with small amounts of cannabis in Portugal, you will not be arrested or fined. However, you may be required to undergo “rehabilitation” or take a drug education class. If you are caught with larger amounts of cannabis, you may be subject to criminal penalties including jail time.

Portugal is one of the many countries where the legal status of cannabis is a bit hazy. The production, consumption, and possession of cannabis are technically illegal in Portugal. However, the government has decriminalized the use of cannabis for personal consumption. This means that you will not be arrested or fined for using cannabis in Portugal.

Personal Use

In 2001, Portugal became the first country in the world to decriminalize the personal use and possession of all drugs. This means that, while it is still technically illegal to possess and use drugs in Portugal, drug users are not treated as criminals and will not face imprisonment or a criminal record if caught.

instead, they will be referred to a commission, made up of a lawyer, a doctor, and a social worker, who will determine if they need treatment, education, or any other form of support. If it is determined that the individual does not need treatment, they will be released with no criminal record.

Cannabis falls under this decriminalization policy and is therefore legal for personal use in Portugal. However, this does not mean that cannabis can be bought or sold freely – it is still illegal to deal or traffic drugs in Portugal.


Cultivation of cannabis is illegal in Portugal, and is punishable by up to 2 years in prison. However, the personal cultivation of cannabis for personal use is decriminalized, and is not considered a crime. The cultivation of up to 25 Plants is allowed for personal use. sale of cannabis remains a criminal offense.


Possession of cannabis in Portugal is decriminalized, with no prison sentences for possession of small quantities intended for personal use. Offenses relating to personal possession are adjudicated by a Commission for the Dissuasion of Drug Addiction (), composed of a judge, a prosecutor, a psychologist or psychiatrist, and a social worker. The commission may issue a warning or impose one of several sanctions, including community service, referrals to treatment, attendance at lectures on the dangers of drug use, and confiscation of property used in connection with drug use.


Cannabis is illegal for sale in Portugal, but the personal possession of small amounts of the drug has been decriminalized since 2001. This means that possession of small amounts of cannabis for personal use is not considered a criminal offense. However, it is still considered a crime to cultivate or traffic the drug.


It is currently legal to transport up to 25 grams of cannabis in Portugal for personal use. For amounts above 25 grams, it is considered drug trafficking, which is a punishable offense.


Cannabis consumption in Portugal is decriminalized for amounts considered personal use. This means that an individual caught with up to 25 grams of cannabis herb or 5 grams of hashish cannot be arrested, fined, or subject to any other kind of criminal proceedings.

The country’s National Strategy on Drugs, which was approved in early 2019, does not include any specific measures regarding decriminalization or legalization of cannabis. However, it does express the need to “enable different approaches to different substances.”

Portugal’s Approach to Drug Policy

Portugal has a very relaxed and progressive approach to drug policy, including cannabis. The country decriminalized the use of all drugs in 2001, and has since then implemented a number of policies that focus on harm reduction and treatment. As a result, drug use in Portugal has declined significantly, and the country has become a model for other countries looking to reform their drug policies.


In 2001, Portugal became the first European country to decriminalize the use of all drugs. Possession and use of drugs were still technically illegal, but the offense was treated as a public health issue, not a crime. The police were instructed to treat drug users with compassion and refer them to treatment, rather than arrest them.

The rationale for this innovative policy was twofold: first, that criminalization does not effectively deter drug use; and second, that treating drug addiction as a health issue rather than a criminal one would reduce the stigma associated with addiction and help more people access treatment.

Evaluations of Portugal’s drug policy have been largely positive. Since decriminalization, there has been a significant decrease in drug-related crime and an increase in the number of people entering treatment for drug addiction. There has also been no increase in overall rates of drug use in Portugal since 2001.

harm reduction

Harm reduction, often called “the Portuguese model,” is a public health strategy that aims to reduce the harms associated with drug use.

It is based on the philosophy that drug use is a reality in many people’s lives, and that it is better to focus on reducing the harms associated with drug use than on trying to eliminate drug use entirely.

Portugal’s approach to drug policy is based on the principle of harm reduction. This means that Portugal focuses on reducing the harms associated with drug use, rather than on eliminating drug use entirely.

Portugal’s approach to drug policy has been successful in reducing the number of new HIV infections, the number of overdose deaths, and the overall level of drug-related crime.

public health

In July 2001, Portugal became the first European country to decriminalize the use of all drugs, and started treating drug addiction as a public health issue, rather than a criminal one. The policy was implemented in an attempt to reduce drug-related harm throughout society, by addressing the individual and social factors that lead people to start using drugs in the first place.

Since then, numerous studies have been conducted on Portugal’s drug policy, and the results have been overwhelmingly positive. The rate of new HIV infections among drug users has fallen dramatically, and there has been a significant decrease in drug-related crime. Portugal’s approach to drug policy has also saved the government a considerable amount of money – money that can be reinvested in prevention and treatment programs.

The Pros and Cons of Cannabis Legalization in Portugal

Portugal is one of the many countries that has decriminalized the use of cannabis. This means that people are not prosecuted for using or possessing small amounts of the drug. While this may seem like a step in the right direction, there are some drawbacks to this policy.


Portugal decriminalized the use of all drugs in 2001, and since then, the country has seen a decrease in drug-related problems. If cannabis were to be legalized, it would likely have a similar impact.

Legalization would also allow the government to better regulate the quality of cannabis and ensure that it is not adulterated with other drugs. It would also allow for better monitoring of who is using cannabis and how much they are using. This would help to prevent people from developing problematic patterns of use.

Legalization would also generate tax revenue that could be used to fund drug education and prevention programs. It could also be used to fund research into the therapeutic potential of cannabis.


While cannabis legalization in Portugal has been touted as a success by many, there are some drawbacks to the policy. One key concern is that the decriminalization of cannabis may lead to an increase in drug tourism, as visitors from other countries come to Portugal to take advantage of the liberal laws. This could put a strain on local resources, as well as create public safety concerns.

Another worry is that decriminalization could lead to an increase in cannabis use among young people, as it may be seen as a safe and acceptable drug. This could have negative consequences on their health and development. Additionally, there is concern that Portugal’s status as a European Union member country could mean that its relaxed attitude towards cannabis could lead to pressure on other EU countries to loosen their own laws.

What the Future Holds for Cannabis in Portugal

Cannabis is currently illegal in Portugal, but the government is considering changing the laws. Portugal has a long history with cannabis, and it was actually legal until the early 1900s. Now, the government is considering changing the laws again and making cannabis legal.

continued decriminalization

In 2001, Portugal decriminalized the possession of all drugs, including cannabis, in an effort to combat addiction rates and drug-related crime. This means that while possessing small amounts of drugs is not technically illegal, it is still punishable by a fine or mandatory treatment. In 2018, Portugal updated its drug laws to further decriminalize cannabis possession, making it a non-criminal offense punishable by a fine of up to 100 Euros for first-time offenders.Repeat offenders may be required to attend mandatory treatment.

The production and sale of cannabis remains illegal in Portugal. However, the country has legalized the cultivation of up to six cannabis plants for personal use. In addition, Portuguese law allows for the formation of cannabis clubs, which are membership-based organizations that cultivate and distribute cannabis among members for personal use.

While decriminalization has had some positive effects on drug use and related crime rates in Portugal, the country faces challenges in regulating and enforcing its drug laws. In particular, there is a lack of clarity around what constitutes personal use versus intent to sell, which can make it difficult for police to distinguish between the two. In addition, there are concerns that the continued illegal status of cannabis may contribute to social stigma and health disparities among users.

medical cannabis

In July 2018, the Portuguese Parliament approved a bill that legalised the use of medical cannabis in the country. The new law came into effect in October 2018, making Portugal the first country in Southern Europe to legalise medical cannabis.

Under the new law, patients with a valid medical prescription can purchase medical cannabis from pharmacies. The law also allows for the importation of medical cannabis from other countries, as long as it is for personal use and not for resale.

The legalisation of medical cannabis was widely welcomed by patients and doctors alike, as it gives patients with chronic conditions access to a safe and effective treatment option. However, there are still some barriers to access, such as the high cost of medical cannabis products and the lack of insurance coverage.

Despite these challenges, the future of medical cannabis in Portugal looks bright. The government is committed to expanding access tomedical cannabis and is working on a new law that will allow for the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal purposes. With continued progress, Portugal may soon become a leader in European medical cannabis reform.

full legalization

In Portugal, the use of cannabis is decriminalized for personal consumption. This means that individuals cannot be prison sentenced for consuming or possessing small amounts of cannabis for personal use.

The decriminalization of cannabis in Portugal has led to a decrease in the number of people incarcerated for drug-related offenses and has freed up law enforcement resources to focus on more serious crimes. In addition, it has also resulted in a decrease in the illegal market for cannabis.

The government is currently considering full legalization of cannabis and is expected to make a decision on the matter in the near future. If Portugal does decide to fully legalize cannabis, it would become the first country in Europe to do so.

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