Laws and Regulations

The Land of Decriminalized Drugs; Portugal and CBD

Written by Nicholas Demski

How a small country on the Iberian peninsula is carving out its own space for cannabidiol

Think of a land that’s the perfect place to grow cannabis. There’s a fresh sea breeze. A subtropical climate with plenty of sunshine and fertile land to grow cannabis underscores a relaxed society that doesn’t criminalize drug use. Where are you thinking of? Is it California? The Emerald Triangle?

You wouldn’t be wrong, but today, however, we’re talking about Portugal.

The California-like climate that’s perfect for cannabis cultivation isn’t the only similarity between the United States and Portugal. Much like the opioid crisis that we are currently facing in the United States, Portugal was facing a heroin epidemic throughout the late 20th century and early 21st.

In fact, roughly 1% of the population was suffering from addiction to hard drugs in 1999. As a result, the country saw a need to rewire how it was approaching drugs. That’s why, in the early days of the 21st century, Portugal decriminalized all drugs, including cannabis.

Nearly two decades later, Portugal is happily growing and exporting high-THC cannabis. However, they also have their own unique CBD market.

That’s why, late last year, International Cannabis Corp. acquired a CBD license in Portugal. The license will allow ICC to cultivate, process, and import or export cannabis products from the country. ICC, as they noted in their press release, will be taking advantage of 250 days of sunshine each year to help them continue to push into Europe’s burgeoning CBD marketplace.

Why push from Portugal into the rest of Europe? From there, companies like Tilray are offered tariff-free entry into the rest of the European Union.

However, not everyone within Portugal is in favor of this movement towards legalizing the various forms of cannabis. In fact, a group of pharmacists in Portugal is pushing back. Thankfully, much of their fight isn’t aimed at CBD, which they seem to acknowledge has medicinal value. According to their spokesperson, they know CBD is useful for people in Portugal with conditions such as spasticity.

While people are not currently allowed to grow their own cannabis, even if it’s a hemp variety that’s heavy in CBD with little to no THC, Portugal is leading in many ways with their cannabis industry.

Are you thinking about visiting Portugal to go see their CBD market? Let us know what questions you have in the comments!

About the author

Nicholas Demski

Nicholas Demski's latest venture is He's a poet, author, cannabis writer, and budding entrepreneur. You can follow his travels with his daughter on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram @TheSingleDadNoma

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