Portugal passes medical cannabis law, opens domestic market

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Portugal’s lawmakers approved sweeping changes to how medical cannabis is regulated in the country, which will open new opportunities for international and domestic companies.

The law spells out rules for medical cannabis cultivation, production, extraction and commercial manufacture, as well as wholesale, distribution to pharmacies, import and export, transit and sale of the products.

The bill – approved by Parliament last week – now awaits President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa’s approval to become law.

Portugal already cultivates large quantities of medical cannabis, but the medicine has remained largely inaccessible to domestic patients, which put the country in a precarious situation with various United Nations treaties.

The National Authority of Medicines and Health Products (Infarmed) will be responsible for regulating most aspects of MMJ, and all medical marijuana products will require a license from the government agency.

Medical marijuana will be available only from pharmacies with a medical practitioner’s prescription.

Doctors will be allowed to prescribe medical cannabis for any condition when other treatments are not effective.

Dried bud and derivatives will be allowed, according to local experts contacted by Marijuana Business Daily.

The law goes into force July 1, but the market is expected to be open for business by the end of this year.

Canadian companies are already positioning themselves to capitalize.

Last year, Infarmed approved British Columbia-based Tilray’s 20 million euro ($22 million) medical marijuana production facility in Portugal to serve the European Union.

Infarmed first authorized cannabis cultivation in 2014.

Matt Lamers can be reached at mattl@mjbizdaily.com

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