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Portugal returns to square one in the legalization of adult use of cannabis



Assembly of the Portuguese Republic - Photo: Laura Ramos | Cannareporter

This is the second time that Portugal has returned to square one when it comes to legalizing the adult use of cannabis. With the dismissal of the Prime Minister, António Costa, on November 7th, the government will be dissolved and the bills that had been submitted to the Assembly of the Republic will expire, similar to what happened in November 2021. Portugal has new legislative elections scheduled for March 10, 2024.

The legalization of personal use of cannabis had been proposed by two parties, Left Block, on June 6, 2022, and Liberal Initiative, on April 20, 2023. However, none had yet been scheduled for discussion or voting in the Plenary of the Assembly of the Republic. With the dissolution of the government, bills to legalize the adult use of cannabis no longer have any validity, which means they will have to be presented again.

From almost everything to nothing
The socialist majority government seemed quite favorable to advancing legalization. About three months ago, the leader of the Socialist Party's parliamentary bench, Eurico Brilhante Dias, announced the intention of setting up a working group to debate and deepen reflection around the regulation of the use of cannabis for non-medical purposes.

Also the vice-president of the Parliamentary Group of the Socialist Party, Miguel Costa Matos, suggested to the Portuguese government to take advantage of the absolute majority it held in the Assembly of the Republic to legalize cannabis. Miguel Costa Matos was speaking during the National Congress of Socialist Youth (JS), in Braga, where he was re-elected to the JS leadership.

On September 19th, in the debate “Exposure to cannabis in adolescence”, which took place in the António de Almeida Santos Auditorium, in the Assembly of the Republic, There was a clear political consensus: With the exception of Chega, all political parties were in favor of creating regulations for the adult use of cannabis. At the time, Portugal therefore seemed to be prepared to move forward with legalization, but, with yet another dissolution of the government, it takes a big step back again.

With the controversies surrounding the dismissal of the Prime Minister, due to alleged suspicions of corruption in his executive, the next elections, scheduled for March 10, 2024, are shrouded in immense uncertainty.



[Disclaimer: Please note that this text was originally written in Portuguese and is translated into English and other languages ​​using an automatic translator. Some words may differ from the original and typos or errors may occur in other languages.]


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With a degree in Journalism from the University of Coimbra, Laura Ramos has a postgraduate degree in Photography and has been a Journalist since 1998. She was a correspondent for Jornal de Notícias in Rome, Italy, and Press Advisor at the Office of the Minister of Education. She has an international certification in Permaculture (PDC) and created the street-art photographic archive “What says Lisbon?” @saywhatlisbon. Laura is currently Editor of CannaReporter and CannaZine, as well as founder and program director of PTMC - Portugal Medical Cannabis. She directed the documentary “Pacientes” and was part of the steering group of the first Postgraduate in GxP's for Medicinal Cannabis in Portugal, in partnership with the Military Laboratory and the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Lisbon.

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