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Portugal Moves Forward On Regulating Domestic Hemp Market

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On August 4, the Portuguese government issued a regulatory document that authorizes the cultivation and exploitation of the domestic hemp market.

According to the document, translated from Portuguese, the law “establishes the conditions, authorizations and inspection that apply to the cultivation, production, manufacture, employment, trade, distribution, import, export, introduction, dispatch, transit, possession for any purpose and use of plants, substances and preparations.”

Here are the big takeaways:

  • The Departments of Agriculture and Justice have an overview and supervisory authority over the vertical for hemp bound for industrial purposes. The Institute for the Financing of Agriculture and Fisheries along with the Judiciary Police, National Republica Guard and the Public Security police will also all have a role to play in the regulation and oversight of the industry and its regulatory schemata and rules.
  • Regardless, however, no matter where the hemp is grown, it will be subject to certification just because of difficulty authorities have already identified, namely understanding quickly which plant is which (higher THC cultivars vs. low THC plants with less than 0.2%).
  • This classification includes all hemp grown for non-human consumption (i.e. industrial) and animal food.
  • The regulations will also be applied to the medical cannabis market – namely creating a space domestically for the legal prescription of narcotic drugs.
  • Sets fees for cultivation (3,000), additional certifications (1,000), and additional charges set by the government for the licensing and certification process.

Significance In the European Market

Portugal is currently one of the few countries which have allowed cannabis production from the medical perspective since Tilray established production facilities in the country in 2017. Now, however, it is clearly joining the list of European countries determined to try to regulate hemp separately.

This means, however, that the country has not taken a stand on the discussion before any European Commission decision that hemp is somehow a “narcotic” (pending in September). The Portuguese decree also does not appear to take a stand on the question of whether hemp is “novel” or not for human consumption.

This careful designation, in other words, appears to presage a future where the terms and conditions of the entire industry are set by those who believe that hemp or its extracts are somehow “new” in Europe. Or potentially classified for all human consumption as a “narcotic.”

In the meantime, beyond the headlines, German-produced, and EU-BIO certified, higher quality hemp oil is showing up in chain grocery stores across Deutschland.

It is inevitable that there are a few rounds left in the entire discussion from the regional and country perspective.

In the meantime, another country in Europe has established a formal hemp program, even if it seems to be a very small first step.

Join the International Cannabis Business Conference when it returns to Europe in 2021. Until then, stay tuned to our blog!