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Understanding Cannabis Laws in Portugal

Decriminalization of Cannabis

In Portugal, cannabis has been decriminalized since 2001. This means that possessing small amounts of cannabis for personal use is not considered a criminal offense but rather an administrative one. People caught with small quantities of cannabis are typically given a fine or required to attend a drug education program.

So, is it legal? Straight answer:

If it’s prescribed by a doctor and purchased in a pharmacy, then YES, it’s legal.

Law No. 33/2018, dated July 18, established the legal framework for the use of cannabis-based medicines, preparations, and substances for medicinal purposes, including their prescription and dispensation in pharmacies, with Decree-Law No. 8/2019, dated January 15, providing its regulation.

The purpose of this legal framework was to make treatment with cannabis-based medicines, preparations, and substances accessible, ensuring:

– that the preparations made available meet all necessary requirements concerning the demonstration of their quality and safety, thus contributing to safeguarding and protecting public health, and

– preventing the misuse of cannabis-based medicines, preparations, and substances in accordance with the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.

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Therefore, the entire production chain, from plant cultivation to preparation and distribution, is known and controlled, ensuring that products are produced in accordance with all good practices and applicable requirements.

This guarantees that patients have access to products that have demonstrated their quality and safety, not exposing them to unnecessary and avoidable risks, preventing their misuse, and limiting their use to cases where conventional treatments have not produced the expected effects or have caused significant adverse effects.

The use of these products depends on the clinical assessment, carried out by the doctor, considering the approved therapeutic indications.

The dispensation of these products can only be carried out in pharmacies upon presentation of a medical prescription.


Law No. 33/2018, dated July 18 – Regulates the use of cannabis-based medicines, preparations, and substances for medicinal purposes.

Decree-Law No. 8/2019, dated January 15 – Regulates the use of cannabis-based medicines, preparations, and substances for medicinal purposes.

Decree-Law No. 15/93, dated January 22 – Legal framework for drug trafficking and consumption.

Regulatory Decree No. 61/94, dated October 12 – Regulates Decree-Law No. 15/93, dated January 22.

Ordinance No. 44-A/2019, dated January 31 – Regulates the pricing regime for cannabis-based preparations and substances for medicinal purposes.

Ordinance No. 83/2021, dated April 15 – Defines requirements and procedures for granting authorizations for activities related to the cultivation, manufacture, wholesale trade, transportation, circulation, import, and export of cannabis-based medicines, preparations, and substances.

Legal Limitations

While the decriminalization of cannabis has undoubtedly made it more accessible, it’s essential to remember that there are still legal limitations. The sale of cannabis is illegal, and growing cannabis plants for personal use is also not allowed. However, these restrictions haven’t stopped a thriving online market for cannabis products from developing.

Advantages of Buying Cannabis Online


One of the main advantages of buying cannabis online is convenience. You can browse and order products from the comfort of your own home, without having to travel to a physical location. This can save you time, effort, and money, especially if you live in a remote area or have limited access to transportation.


Another advantage of buying cannabis online is privacy. Purchasing cannabis products online allows you to maintain your anonymity and avoid any potential stigma associated with buying cannabis in person. You can shop discreetly and have your products delivered to your doorstep without anyone else knowing.

Variety and Selection

Online cannabis shops typically offer a wider variety of products than brick-and-mortar stores. You can find different strains, edibles, tinctures, and other cannabis-infused products that may not be available in your local area. This allows you to experiment with different products and find the ones that work best for your needs.

Competitive Pricing

Online shops often have lower overhead costs than physical stores, allowing them to offer more competitive prices. By shopping online, you can compare prices from multiple sources and find the best deals on cannabis products.

How to Safely Buy Cannabis Online in Portugal

Research Reputable Sources

Before you start buying cannabis online, it’s essential to research reputable sources. Look for online shops with good reviews and a strong reputation for quality products and customer service. You can also ask for recommendations from friends or online forums that discuss cannabis use in Portugal.

Verify Product Quality

When buying cannabis online, it’s crucial to ensure that you’re getting high-quality products. Look for shops that provide detailed information about their products, including THC and CBD content, strain information, and lab test results. This might help you make informed decisions about the products you purchase.

Secure Payment Methods

Always use secure payment methods when buying cannabis online. Look for websites that use encryption and secure payment gateways to protect your personal and financial information. Avoid sending money through unsecured channels or providing your credit card information to unknown sellers.

Discreet Shipping Options

Choose online shops that offer discreet shipping options to maintain your privacy. Look for companies that use plain packaging and do not include any cannabis-related markings on the package. This might help ensure that your cannabis purchase remains confidential and doesn’t draw unnecessary attention.

The Cannabis Store Amsterdam Portugal Phenomenon

A Tale of Two Cities

The Netherlands and Portugal have long been known for their liberal drug policies, but they take different approaches to cannabis. The former is famous for its coffee shops and marijuana tourism, while the latter has decriminalized all drugs for personal use.

Cannabis Stores in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is the mecca for cannabis enthusiasts, with its famous coffee shops offering a wide range of strains and products. Visitors can freely purchase and consume marijuana in these establishments, making the city a popular destination for those seeking a cannabis-friendly vacation.

Portugal’s Cannabis Scene

While Portugal has decriminalized all drugs for personal use, it doesn’t have the same cannabis culture as Amsterdam. There are no cannabis cafes or stores where you can legally buy marijuana, but possession of small amounts for personal use is not a criminal offense.

Fake Hash Portugal: What to Watch Out For

The Growing Market for Fake Hash

As cannabis becomes more popular worldwide, a market for counterfeit products has emerged. In Portugal, fake hash is a growing concern. These products can contain harmful chemicals and contaminants, so it’s essential to be aware of the risks and how to spot fakes.

Identifying Fake Hash

Fake hash may resemble the real thing, but there are some key differences to look out for. Genuine hash has a distinct smell and should crumble easily when warmed. Fake hash may have a chemical odor and may be harder or more rubbery in texture.

Is Delta-8 Legal in Portugal?

Delta-8 THC: A Brief Introduction

Delta-8 THC is a lesser-known cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. It has psychoactive effects similar to Delta-9 THC (the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis) but is typically less potent and has a smoother, more mellow high.

Legality of Delta-8 THC in Portugal

At the time of writing, the legal status of Delta-8 THC in Portugal is unclear. While Portugal has decriminalized personal drug use, it’s essential to research the latest regulations before purchasing or using Delta-8 THC in the country.

What Drugs Are Legal in Portugal?

Decriminalization vs. Legalization

It’s crucial to understand the difference between decriminalization and legalization. In Portugal, drugs are decriminalized, meaning possession of small amounts for personal use is not a criminal offense. However, this does not mean that drugs are legal or regulated.

Portugal’s Drug Policy

In 2001, Portugal decriminalized all drugs for personal use. Instead of being arrested and prosecuted, those found with small amounts of drugs are referred to a dissuasion commission, which assesses the individual’s situation and may impose fines, treatment, or other sanctions.

Cannabis Portugal 2022: What’s Changed?

Medical Cannabis in Portugal

Medical cannabis was legalized in Portugal in 2018. However, access to medical cannabis remains limited, with strict regulations on qualifying conditions and the availability of products.

Recreational Cannabis in Portugal

While Portugal has not legalized recreational cannabis, the decriminalization of personal drug use means that possession of small amounts of cannabis for personal consumption is not a criminal offense. However, buying, selling, and growing cannabis for recreational purposes remain illegal.


Buying cannabis online in Portugal can be a convenient, private, and cost-effective way to access a variety of cannabis products. However, it’s crucial to understand the legal limitations and take steps to ensure a safe and secure online shopping experience. By researching reputable sources, verifying product quality, using secure payment methods, and choosing discreet shipping options, you can enjoy the benefits of buying cannabis online while minimizing potential risks.


Monshouwer, K., Van Laar, M., & Vollebergh, W. A. (2011). Buying cannabis in ‘coffee shops’. Drug and alcohol review, 30(2), 148-156.

Rhumorbarbe, D., Staehli, L., Broséus, J., Rossy, Q., & Esseiva, P. (2016). Buying drugs on a Darknet market: A better deal? Studying the online illicit drug market through the analysis of digital, physical and chemical data. Forensic science international, 267, 173-182.

Groshkova, T., Stoian, T., Cunningham, A., Griffiths, P., Singleton, N., & Sedefov, R. (2020). Will the current COVID-19 pandemic impact on long-term cannabis buying practices?. Journal of addiction medicine.


Nicola Silva

Nicola Silva is a Cannabis researcher, recognized for her deep expertise and contributions to the field. With a profound understanding of the complex chemistry and therapeutic potential of Cannabis, she has played a pivotal role in promoting evidence-based applications. Nicola's exceptional skills in conducting rigorous research, analyzing data, and interpreting findings have groundbreaking discoveries in Cannabis cultivation, extraction techniques, and medical applications. Her passion for unraveling the mysteries of this versatile plant and her commitment to driving innovation in the industry make her a respected authority in the world of Cannabis.