It was only recently that the Law of Cannabis was starting to demand its space within the Portuguese legal framework. Before 2019 the portuguese legal position on narcotics products, hemp cultivation or industrial hemp usage was only from a Regulatory-Decree from 1994 with a very strong anti narcotics position. Since then the Law of Cannabis has been conquering it’s space.
Law of Cannabis – What has been done so far?
Portugal has recently published the Regulatory-Decree No. 2/2020, of August 4. Which establishes the framework for the cultivation and industrial exploitation of hemp varieties. It puts an end to much uncertainty that was being felt involving the Law of Cannabis in Portuguese law framework.
Before this Regulatory-Decree of 2020, the Law of Cannabis was only regulated for medical use. In 2019, In the publication in Portugal of the Decree-Law No. 8/2019 which regulates the Law of Cannabis for Medical Use. Establishing the rules for its usage, the procedures that the farmers had to follow to obtain the due authorization for Hemp cultivation was halted by the authorities.
Uncertainty about authorization for hemp cultivation in Portugal was a consequence of the modifications introduced by the already quoted Decree-Law No. 8/2019 which regulates the anti-narcotics legal framework. By 1994 the Cannabis was a tabu in Portuguese society, evermore in its law framework, and no one could imagine a thing called Law of Cannabis.
Entities responsible for the Law of Cannabis
A document regulating the granting of authorizations for cultivation of the cannabis for industrial purposes, issued by the Government never took place. Therefore no one was sure of what was already considered legal or not. The lack of authorization, and the lack of a legal context around the Law of Cannabis drove to a great uncertainty to the farmers.
Besides the uncertainty involving the Law of Cannabis (may it be cultivated, where, and what are the requisites) there were also doubts regarding the competent authority. Who should oversee the granting of the authorizations for hemp cultivation? Was it the INFARMED or DGAV? At this point there was nothing within the legal framework that considered cannabis cultivation.
The recently published Regulatory-Decree No. 2/2020 once again brings changes to the Law of Cannabis, modifying the previous decree. and sets forth that in case of hemp cultivation for industrial purposes can be sought before the DGAV. This responsibility foresees foodstuffs and animal feeding, authorization for said production. About the Regulatory-Decree, it also defines the applicable administrative fees to this end.
Law of Cannabis and its limits.
Also the Law of Cannabis brought changes to the types of hemp that are authorized to be cultivated. According to this new Regulatory-Decree, the requirement to seek authorization for conducting the described activities is attributable to the varieties of Cannabis Sativa. Hemp cultivation is not distinguishable from the varieties with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) contents of more than 0,2 %.
It is a known fact that increases in THC contents may be taken into consideration in the next Law of Cannabis modifications. As is known, increases in THC contents beyond those defined by the common organization of the markets in industrial hemp is a possibility. This can be easily understandable when taking into consideration the natural fluctuations caused by growing conditions. The Law of Cannabis is still under construction and it is nowadays being taken under discussion taking into consideration all the details.
Law of Cannabis establishes limits for industrial purposes
Regarding the control functions for hem cultivation for industrial purposes, the Law of Cannabis for the control functions regarding hemp cultivation for industrial purposes, establishes that these shall be performed by the IFAP but with the cooperation of Portuguese Criminal Police, the GNR – Republican National Guard, and the PSP – Public Security Police.
To make sure that the situation is under control and the production limits are respected. It is important that these four authorities are aware of the Law of Cannabis. And that all the agents that will go to the production sites, to the cultivation perimeter, are on their full capacity. It is mandatory that they are well aware of all the restrictions as well as the rights that the Law of Cannabis guarantees to the entity that produces, cultivate and transform the material in question.
Legal and economic importance of the Law of Cannabis
The Law of Cannabis takes into consideration that the market space is expanding, and that there is a growing national and international interest in hemp cultivation for a variety of uses. And that creating the right law framework for this product to prosper on an industrial level represents a significant financial impact in the near future. And more, Portugal has the soil conditions to produce it, and the only thing stopping it to happen is a legal framework. It is in the hands of the legislator to create the Law of Cannabis.
The limits for hemp usage just don’t exist, nowadays hemp is used from cosmetics to medicines for humans, for veterinary use, for fibers and seeds production for the agro-industrial sector and also for sustainable alternatives to fashion, accessories and clothes. This Regulatory-Decree underlines the economic potential of hemp cultivation for industrial purposes and appears to pave the way for the growth of this market in Portugal. But it is now safe to say that the Law of Cannabis has finally entered the Portuguese legal framework.