Portugal Legalizes Medical Cannabis, Must Improve Law Soon
Portugal has been a leader in reforming the failed War on Drugs, decriminalizing the personal use of all drugs back in 2001. By all accounts, ending draconian Drug War penalties and treating drug use as a health care issue, instead of a criminal justice issue, has been a raging success for Portugal. Despite a progressive drug policy across the board, Portugal has lagged behind other nations like Germany and Canada, on medical cannabis policy, but the country has taken a good step forward, as Reuters reported:
Portugal’s parliament overwhelmingly approved a bill on Friday to legalize marijuana-based medicines, after rejecting earlier proposals to allow patients to grow the drug at home.
All drugs will need a license from regulator Infarmed, the body which last year authorized a medical marijuana plantation in central Portugal growing plants with a high content of psychoactive ingredient THC for export.
Portugal, on the Atlantic coast has a warm temperate subtropical climate, with mild winters, warm summers and lots of sunny days, which is often compared to that of California, making it an ideal place for cannabis cultivation.
Even though Portugal President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has just recently placed his signature on the nation’s medical act, the country should look to immediately improve the law to allow home cultivation and for doctors to prescribe cannabis the same as they would for any other medicine. Like Germany’s original medical law, Portugal physicians are only able to prescribe cannabis if other drugs have been found to be ineffective. As Germany improved its medical law, hopefully, Portugal will soon follow suit. And with Portugal having a cultivation climate similar to Canada, the nation should continue its leadership role in drug policy, and create jobs, and generate millions in new revenue legalizing cannabis commerce for all adults.
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