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Is Cannabis Legal in Portugal?

Yes, medical cannabis is legal in Portugal.

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.

History of Cannabis Laws in Portugal

Decriminalization of Drugs in 2001

In 2001, Portugal adopted a groundbreaking approach to drug policy. Rather than criminalizing the use and possession of drugs, the country decriminalized them. This decision was made in response to a severe drug crisis that plagued the nation in the 1990s. Portugal’s approach to drug policy has been praised for its focus on public health and harm reduction, as it treats drug addiction as a medical issue rather than a criminal one.

Current Legal Status of Cannabis

Although cannabis is decriminalized in Portugal, it is essential to understand that it is not legal in the same way that it is in some other countries. Decriminalization means that the use and possession of cannabis are not treated as criminal offenses but rather as administrative infractions.

Medical Cannabis

Prescription and Usage

Medical cannabis has been legal in Portugal since 2018. Patients with qualifying medical conditions, such as chronic pain, cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/AIDS, can obtain a prescription from their physician. Medical cannabis products can be obtained from authorized pharmacies.

Cultivation for Medical Purposes

The cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes is legal in Portugal, but it requires a license from the Portuguese regulatory agency, INFARMED. Only licensed producers can grow cannabis for medical use, and they must adhere to strict guidelines and regulations.

Recreational Cannabis

Personal Use and Possession

While the possession of cannabis for personal use is decriminalized in Portugal, it is still subject to certain restrictions. Individuals may possess up to 25 grams of cannabis plant material or 5 grams of cannabis resin without facing criminal charges. However, they may still be subject to administrative penalties, such as fines or mandatory participation in treatment programs.

Cultivation for Personal Use

Cultivating cannabis for personal use is also decriminalized in Portugal, but it is subject to similar restrictions as possession. Individuals may grow up to five cannabis plants without facing criminal charges.

Consumption in Public Spaces

Cannabis consumption in public spaces, such as parks or streets, is prohibited in Portugal. Individuals caught consuming cannabis in public may face administrative penalties.

Cannabis Industry

Licensed Producers and Retailers

The legal cannabis industry in Portugal is primarily focused on medical cannabis production and distribution. Licensed producers are allowed to cultivate and process cannabis for medical purposes, while authorized pharmacies distribute the products to patients with valid prescriptions. Recreational cannabis sales and dispensaries are not permitted under Portuguese law.

Economic Impact

The medical cannabis industry in Portugal has had a positive impact on the economy. The country’s favorable climate and relatively low production costs have attracted investment from international cannabis companies. As a result, Portugal has become a significant exporter of medical cannabis products to other European countries. Additionally, the industry has generated new jobs in cultivation, processing, and research sectors.

Law Enforcement and Penalties

While cannabis possession and cultivation for personal use are decriminalized in Portugal, authorities still enforce laws related to drug trafficking and public consumption.

Drug Trafficking

Trafficking or selling cannabis is considered a criminal offense in Portugal, and those caught engaging in these activities can face severe penalties, including imprisonment. Penalties for drug trafficking vary depending on the quantity of drugs involved and the individual’s prior criminal history.

Treatment and Prevention Programs

Dissuasion Commissions

When individuals are caught possessing or consuming cannabis for personal use, they may be referred to a Dissuasion Commission. These commissions, composed of legal, medical, and social work professionals, assess the individual’s situation and determine appropriate administrative sanctions or treatment programs. The primary goal of the Dissuasion Commissions is to prevent drug addiction and promote public health.

Future of Cannabis Laws in Portugal

While Portugal’s progressive drug policy has garnered international attention, the future of cannabis laws in the country remains uncertain. Some advocates argue that fully legalizing and regulating recreational cannabis could generate additional tax revenue and further reduce the stigma associated with drug use. However, others contend that the current decriminalization model strikes an appropriate balance between public health and personal freedom.

As the global conversation around cannabis legalization continues to evolve, it is possible that Portugal may reassess its current policies. For now, the country’s focus remains on harm reduction, treatment, and the responsible development of its medical cannabis industry.

Growing Hemp in Portugal: A Thriving Industry

Hemp has been grown in Portugal for centuries, but in recent years, the industry has seen significant growth. With favorable weather conditions and a supportive government, Portugal has become a top producer of high-quality hemp. Not only is hemp used for industrial purposes, such as textiles and building materials, but it’s also becoming increasingly popular as a source of CBD oil.

Is CBD Legal in Portugal?

Yes, CBD is legal in Portugal. In fact, the Portuguese government has taken a progressive approach to cannabis regulation, allowing for the cultivation, sale, and use of hemp and CBD products. This has created a thriving market for CBD products, including edibles, topicals, and tinctures.

The Rise of Cannabis Edibles in Portugal

With the legalization of hemp and CBD, the market for cannabis edibles has exploded in Portugal. From gummies and chocolates to teas and beverages, there’s no shortage of options for consumers looking to try cannabis edibles. These products offer a convenient and discreet way to consume cannabis, making them a popular choice for both new and experienced users.

The Benefits of Cannabis Edibles for Consumers

Cannabis edibles offer a number of benefits for consumers, including:

  • Long-lasting effects: Unlike smoking or vaping, edibles provide a slow-release of cannabis that can last for hours.
  • Discreet consumption: Edibles can be consumed in public without drawing attention, making them a convenient option for on-the-go use.
  • Versatility: Edibles come in a variety of forms and flavors, allowing consumers to find the perfect product to suit their needs.
  • Precise dosing: With edibles, it’s easy to control the amount of cannabis you consume, making them a great option for those looking to manage their intake.

The Challenges of Bringing Edibles to Portugal

Despite the growth of the cannabis edibles market in Portugal, there are still challenges to overcome. These include:

  • Regulation: With the market still in its infancy, regulations around the production and sale of edibles are constantly evolving. This can make it difficult for companies to navigate the industry.
  • Quality control: Ensuring the quality and safety of edibles is a top priority, but it can be difficult to regulate in a new market.
  • Education: Educating consumers about the safe and responsible use of edibles is essential, but it can be a challenge in a market that’s still developing.

The Future of Cannabis in Portugal

With the legalization of hemp and CBD, and the growth of the edibles market, the future of the cannabis industry in Portugal looks bright. As regulations continue to evolve, we can expect to see even more growth and innovation in the coming years. Whether you’re a business looking to enter the market, or a consumer looking to try cannabis edibles, now is the time to keep an eye on Portugal.

Cannabis Portugal 2023: A Look at the Year Ahead

As we head into 2022, the Portuguese cannabis market is poised for even more growth. With the legalization of hemp and CBD, and the increasing popularity of edibles, there’s never been a better time to get involved in the industry. Whether you’re a business looking to launch a new product or a consumer looking to try something new, the opportunities in the Portuguese market are endless.

Investing in the Portuguese Cannabis Market: Opportunities and Risks

For investors, the Portuguese cannabis market offers a wealth of opportunities. With a supportive government and a growing market, there’s never been a better time to invest in the industry. However, as with any new market, there are also risks to consider. From regulatory changes to competition, it’s important to do your research and understand the market before making any investment decisions.

The Importance of Quality Control in the Portuguese Edibles Market

As the market for cannabis edibles continues to grow, it’s more important than ever to prioritize quality control. From ensuring the safety of products to maintaining consistent dosing, quality control is essential for both consumers and businesses. Companies that prioritize quality control will not only build a loyal customer base, but they’ll also set themselves apart from the competition.

Building a Successful Cannabis Business in Portugal: Tips and Strategies

Starting a cannabis business in Portugal is an exciting opportunity, but it’s also a challenging one. From navigating regulations to building a brand, there’s a lot to consider. Here are some tips and strategies for building a successful cannabis business in Portugal:

  • Conduct thorough market research: Understand the market, competition, and consumer preferences before launching a product.
  • Build a strong brand: A well-defined brand can set your business apart and may help you stand out in a crowded market.
  • Prioritize quality control: Ensuring the safety and quality of your products is essential for building a successful business.
  • Stay up-to-date on regulations: The cannabis industry is constantly evolving, so it’s important to stay informed about changes to regulations and laws.

The Future of the Portuguese Cannabis Market: What to Expect

As the Portuguese cannabis market continues to grow, we can expect to see even more innovation and growth in the coming years. From the launch of new products to the expansion of existing businesses, there’s never been a better time to get involved in the industry. Whether you’re a business looking to enter the market or a consumer looking to try something new, the future of the Portuguese cannabis market is bright.


In conclusion, Portugal’s cannabis laws are unique in that they prioritize harm reduction and public health over punitive measures. The decriminalization of drugs, including cannabis, has contributed to a significant decrease in drug-related problems within the country. While recreational cannabis use remains illegal, the medical cannabis industry has continued to grow, providing patients with access to essential treatments and contributing to the country’s economy.

As the international debate surrounding cannabis legalization unfolds, Portugal may find itself revisiting its current policies. However, the success of its decriminalization model, combined with its burgeoning medical cannabis industry, suggests that the country’s approach to cannabis laws may serve as a valuable example for other nations looking to reform their drug policies.


Barata, P. C., Ferreira, F., & Oliveira, C. (2022). Non-medical cannabis use: international policies and outcomes overview. An outline for Portugal. Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, 44, 0-0.

Cabral Barata, P., Ferreira, F., & Oliveira, C. (2022). Non-medical cannabis use: international policies and outcomes overview. An outline for Portugal. Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, 44.

Baptista-Leite, R., & Ploeg, L. (2018). The road towards the responsible and safe legalization of cannabis use in Portugal. Acta Médica Portuguesa31(2), 115-125.


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.