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Parliament to debate legalisation of cannabis

cannabisParliament is to debate the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use. With one in ten Portuguese having tried the drug and with almost half a million active consumers, it may be seen as pointless continuing its classification as illegal, according to pro-drug pressure groups.

The usage figures increase in the 25 to 44 years age group, according to a national survey prepared by the Intervention Service on Admissible Behaviors and Dependencies (SICAD) in 2016/17.

Bills have been submitted to parliament by the Left Bloc and the People, Animals, Nature party’s lone MP.

The only difference between the two proposals is where the drug legally should be sold.

Two-thirds of those who consume cannabis, do so four or more times a week, according to the national survey which notes an increase in consumption frequency and a particular growth in usage by women.

In the last 12 months of 2017, more than three-fifths of consumers use cannabis almost every day. Although recreational cannabis use is not legal, the Portuguese public thinks it is relatively easy to access.

Consumption of cannabis was decriminalized in 2001, and criminal sanctions were replaced by misconduct procedures. The possession of the drug over a certain quantity is still punishable as it can be considered as trafficking.

Decriminalised consumption limits means users currently may carry 25 grammes of marijuana, 10 grammes of hashish and 2.5 grammes of cannabis oil without being charged with a criminal offence.