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Portugal: Six Ministries and two months to add a tenth of THC



Photo: Ricardo Rocha | Cannapress

The industrial hemp rules have been changed once again today with the publication of Ordinance 64/2023 to update the THC limit to 0,3%, as it had been established by the European Commission in December 2021. The amendment by the Portuguese government ignored the requests of farmers, traders and the entire hemp sector, proving to be quite conservative: it limited itself to transposing, with delay, the European directive, updating only one paragraph. The measure should have come into force on January 1, 2023, but we are in Portugal: the Ordinance was signed by six Ministries and it took more than two months to see the light of day.

The Portuguese hemp sector woke up today to a new change in regulations for hemp cultivation. Ordinance 64/2023, published in the Diário da República, simply transposed, into national legislation, the provisions of Regulation (EU) 2021/2115, which was approved by the European Parliament in December of 2021.

On the other hand, the Portuguese Government was conservative in the amendments, which failed to contemplate the claimed changes by sector associations, even after court decisions that point to hemp as a non-drug product.

Minister of Agriculture was the last to sign the document

The document, signed by the six ministries responsible for regulating this matter, makes the second amendment to the Ordinance No. 83 / 2021, of 15 April, namely with updates to the requirements for processing applications and procedures relating to the granting of authorizations for the cultivation of industrial hemp. The document went through the six ministries for almost two months and changed only one paragraph, precisely because the European Union required it. The objective is to align the regulations of the countries with the strategic plans to be drawn up by the Member States within the framework of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), financed by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

However, the hemp sector, which was anticipating the publication of an ordinance (the provisions of the European Regulation are for transposition into mandatory national legislation), thus saw the legislator miss an opportunity to combine the transposition of European regulations with the demands of the industry. The Portuguese government ignored the farmers' demands, regarding the imposition of a minimum cultivation area of ​​5.000 square meters, the restriction of agronomic practices, limitation of sowing densities, the prohibition of the practice of cultivation in greenhouses, the requirement of commercial contracts to farmers and a ban on using all parts of the plant, barring access to the flowers.

The alteration, carried out by the set of Ministers of Internal Administration, Justice, Finance, Economy and Sea, Health and Agriculture, seems to have been initiated by the Minister of Finance, on 10 January 2023, having been sent to the Minister of Internal Administration, February 6th. The document only received the opinion of the Minister of Justice on the 20th of February. From now on, just over a week was enough for the document to gather the signatures of the Minister of Economy, the Minister of Health, with the Minister of Agriculture being responsible for the last signature for later publication, which finally took place today .


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