By Roland Sebestyén
In an open letter, dozens of MPs declared their support for a legalised, controlled adult-use cannabis market in Portugal.
According to Ciudad Cannabis, 60 Socialist Party politicians, including six former ministers and other officials, signed an open letter to speak in favour of recreational cannabis possession and use in the country.
The move comes after the presentation of two cannabis reform bills in Portugal’s parliament over the Summer. Two of the country’s political parties – the Left Bloc and the Liberal Initiative parties – each submitted a legalisation bill setting out their proposals for a legal adult-use industry.
Unfortunately, neither of these bills were successful.
Amid debates and in the absence of agreements, there was no vote, so the proposals were sent to specialised commissions to try to reach a consensus between the different parties. The commissions have requested an additional period of 60 days to extend the debate.
Back in July, The Left Bloc’s Bill 859 stated: “The prohibitionist policy is not a solution, in fact, it is part of the problem and enhances its aggravation by protecting the clandestine nature of trafficking and jeopardising of public health.
“Legalisation and subsequent regulation will promote conscious, free and informed consumption.”
Similarly, the Liberal Initiative’s Bill 862 stated: “In Portugal, currently, cannabis is widely distributed and consumed, and it [possession and consumption] no longer have criminal consequences.
“However, the decriminalisation that took place in Portugal in 2001, considered exemplary in the world panorama, was not a liberalisation because cannabis continued to be clandestine, and continued to expose consumers to criminal underworlds and adulterated [unregulated] products.”
Portugal has been leading the way in drug policy reform in Europe. In 2001, Portugal became the first country in the world to decriminalise the personal possession and use of all drugs.
The groundbreaking policy was introduced in a bid to solve the rising addiction rate and drug-related deaths.