Portugal has started to establish rules for potential consumers and companies that decide to market cannabis products, always with the prior authorization and control of the National Authority for Medicines and Health Products (Infarmed).
In this regard, the Diário da República Agency has published a special section on its website explaining the implications of the law governing the consumption of medicinal cannabis, which will be sold in pharmacies as long as a doctor has prescribed it.
The law provides that the use of cannabis-based medicines, preparations and substances is permitted only “in cases where conventional treatments do not produce the expected effects.” This is to ensure that access to the plant is limited “to cases where conventional treatments have not produced the expected effects or caused the relevant adverse effects,” adds Infarmed.
Its sale will be exclusive in drugstores. The State will control the entire process, from the cultivation of the plant to its preparation and distribution.
The law that legalizes the medicinal consumption of the plant was approved by parliament last June but did not have the necessary regulations for its operation, which finally happened in mid-January and now comes into force.
5 million euros worth of cannabis oil production
Portugal will have a “sophisticated unit” for the production of cannabis oil in the municipality of Nelas, in the central region, as well as a project involving an investment of €5 million.
The municipality of Nelas has given land to a company to develop “a capital-intensive investment that will be very beneficial for the region,” explained to the Lusa agency the President of the Municipal Chamber, José Borges da Silva, who avoided promoting the company’s name.
The company, he added, has pharmaceutical experience in the United States, Brazil, and Belgium and will benefit from the “Compete” program created for investments in fire-affected areas.
The objective, according to Da Silva, is to use the plant for medicinal purposes with a project that will create about 20 skilled jobs.
The leading cannabis-producing in Europe?
Portugal had become a reference country in the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes since 2014 when the first plantation was authorized. And production is exported to several European countries where the use of medicinal marijuana is legal.
At least half a million Portuguese people (out of a population of 10.3 million) regularly use cannabis, and one in ten have tried it at least once, according to the latest report from the Portuguese Intervention Service for Addictive Behaviors and Addictions.
The promoters expect cannabis products to be prescribed to patients with cancer, neuromuscular disorders or severe forms of epilepsy. Nevertheless, none of this can be done until Infarmed publishes the list of therapeutic indications “deemed appropriate for the prescription of herbal preparations and substances.”