HEMP flower for sale in Portugal

HEMP flower for sale in Portugal


New legislation

Last year, on 18 July 2018, Law no. 33/2018 was published in Portugal, legalising the use of
cannabis for medicinal purposes. Within this new legislation, it was estimated that regulation
would be issued 60 days following the law’s publication. However, it was almost 6 months later
– on 15 January 2019 – that the Decree-Law no. 8/2019 was released. This goes to show how
intricate and incredibly diverse this subject can be. Even with such detailed regulations in place,
qualifying patients in Portugal are still struggling tremendously to access medicinal cannabis. In
this article, I will dive into understanding Portugal’s regulations and how these may be affecting
patient accessibility.


As allowed in the new legislation,  Infarmed  – the Portuguese Government agency ‘accountable
to the Health Ministry, that evaluates, authorises, regulates and controls human medicines as
well as health products’ – will oversee the supervision and regulation of medicinal cannabis. As
the approving body of the industry’s licensing, it will oversee pharmacovigilance, approve and
conduct studies into the industry, and determine the list of approved conditions and medical
cannabis therapies. Infarmed have dedicated a page of their website to medical cannabis,
providing information to patients, health professionals and trading entities. They have even
provided an ‘adverse reactions’ form online to incentivise patients and health professionals to
work together in the reporting of side effects of approved and prescribed cannabis-based
medicines. Reporting of adverse effects will be a legal requirement.

Licensing to supply

When the law first came out in 2018, it was initially envisaged that The Military Laboratory of
Chemical and Pharmaceutical products (LMPQ) would be the manufacturer of cannabis-based
medicines in Portugal. However, the Decree-Law no. 8/2019 now states external bodies will
also be able to apply for licenses for production, transportation, exportation, and cultivation.
Infarmed will approve/reject applications within 90 days from the information, paperwork and
payment provided. LMPQ will contribute to cannabis production, and must follow protocol in
place for product testing and approval, but they will be exempt from any fees. Any products
introduced to the market must comply with The Good Agricultural and Collection Practice
Guidelines, as well as the following Portuguese laws:

Law no. 33/2018, 18th July – Regulates the use of cannabis-derived products, preparations and
substances for medicinal purposes.

Decree-Law no. 8/2019, 15th January – Further regulates the use of cannabis-derived
products, preparations and substances for medicinal purposes.

Decree-Law no. 15/93, 22nd January – Legal regime surrounding the traffic and consumption
of narcotic and psychotropic drugs.

Regulatory-Decree no. 61/94, 12th October – Further regulates the Decree-Law no. 15/93,
22nd January.

Ordinance no. 44-A/2019, 31st January – Governs the price regime for cannabis-derived
products, preparations and substances for medicinal purposes.

Who will benefit?

Cannabis-derived medicines must be prescribed under the narcotics and psychotropic
substances rules via a specific medical prescription and then dispensed strictly at pharmacies
only. No medical license will be required for the patient but they will need a new medical
prescription every time they require the medication. Infarmed have provided a list of conditions
qualifying for medical cannabis, given that all conventional treatment methods have been

Spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injuries.

Nausea and vomiting resulting from chemotherapy, radiotherapy and combined HIV therapy and
hepatitis C medication

Appetite stimulation in palliative care of the patient undergoing oncological or AIDS treatment

Chronic pain associated with oncological or nervous system conditions such as neuropathic
pain caused by nerve damage, phantom limb pain, trigeminal neuralgia, or after herpes zoster

Gilles de la Tourette syndrome

Epilepsy and treatment of severe seizure disorders in childhood such as the Dravet and
Lennox-Gastaut syndromes

Therapeutically resistant glaucoma

Cost of supply

Although all the conditions above are considered to qualify for cannabis-derived medication, so
far  Sativex has been the only cannabis-derived medication to be accepted . Not only is Sativex
cost restrictive, at roughly €500 per month, but it has been patented only for the treatment of
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) – meaning that only patients with MS that are financially well off
currently have access to medicinal cannabis in Portugal. All other qualifying patients remain
without access.

After Portugal’s drug decriminalisation law in November 2000 (Law no. 30/2000), and the
rejected proposal for full legalisation in 2013, medical cannabis has now been successfully
legalised. However, the legislation fails to separate medicinal use without a medical prescription
and recreational use, associated with illicit acts such as drug trafficking or drug abuse. Personal
possession or cultivation will, in fact, remain a violation under the decriminalisation law.
Possession and cultivation for distribution purposes without the necessary licenses will be
treated as a criminal violation.

However, although medicinal cannabis is legal, as long as a patient qualifies for a medical
prescription, most qualifying patients remain with no access. So, if such individual is caught in
the possession of cannabis, or is growing it for personal medicinal use, they will be treated as
either as a drug addict or a criminal under the law.

When will legislation benefit?

It is great that Portugal has joined other countries in legalising plant-based cannabis medicines.
However, as demonstrated by many other countries, it is a difficult industry to introduce to the
public, considering its negative connotations, even in a country in which drug consumption has
been decriminalised. Patients who qualify for being treated with cannabis medication often
remain without access, and at risk of being criminalised or treated like a drug addict when
attempting to obtain medicines in less conventional ways. International companies based in
Portugal, such as Tilray and, most recently, Aurora, may perhaps provide more options for
qualifying patients soon. However, as seen with Sativex, this may come at the price of
increased national financial loss and restricted access to those less financially stable. Similarly
to the UK, although Portugal has made extensive positive efforts to legislate the use of
medicinal cannabis, the question remains: when will these medications be socially and
financially accessible to the public?

Points to take note of the Issues and problems with Hemp production in Portugal after new laws
introduced. Read – https://www.lusicanna.com/a-timeline-of-events-around-industrial-hemp-in-