Portugal – The highs and lows of decriminalisation

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Ever fancied visiting Portugal as a tourist? Maybe you heard they have relaxed drug laws there? This is true but it is also misleading.  

Portugal, as many following drug policy change around the world will know decriminalised all personal drug use over 15 years ago. It was a much needed social experiment and has opened up the doors to wider progress and conversation. They treat drug use as a health problem not a criminal one. I wanted to see it for myself.

They have a punish the crime not the drug attitude that is for sure. However it is mainly considered bad, and police are in schools (many police stations are close to schools also) to educate the kids on the dangers of drugs. Education is a great thing, during my trip I would have liked to talk to the Portuguese officers more about the information they give out, sadly they did not speak English so well. Not to have a full blown cannabis conversation any way.

BPortugese Hashuying cannabis was OK, easy enough – but very expensive. I actually thought people were trying to rip me off, they probably were; but the standard price it seems was €20 a gram for weed.  However it was trimmed well and was a nice sleepy indica strain that I finally succumbed to buying. Bearing in mind I was visiting off season, even speaking to local shop owners they said January is very hard because that’s when they go off on their holidays.

I had made a contact in the neighbouring town beforehand where a day or two before I was due to leave I could have got some moroccan hash for €10 euros a gram. Sadly it was a little late for me to consider buying it.

My advice to anyone visiting do not try to buy on the strip, go to the little pastille type cafes/bars  you may just get lucky…unless you are willing to pay €20 euros a gram.

On my last night a bar owner did me a solid, not some solid but a favour.  A nice half gram joint of some Aurora. He was very interested in our UK scene.

Aurora Indica

I spoke to many people in Portugal that were on holiday varying ages, ex healthcare professionals such as nurses and the response i received was actually quite positive. Most people understood the medical benefits and the question most on people’s lips were – why is it illegal? Even if some said they would not use it themselves they accepted others might need it.

So…if you think you are going to go to Portugal as a canna tourist, think again you’re more likely to be offered cocaine when someone says they can get hash. They will come back and say no hash but can get cocaine.  A lot of Portuguese hash market is controlled by certain groups.The locals will warn you of them and it is good advice. I found it interesting because whilst they have a policy it does not mean it is open or on every street corner.

Slightly off topic I did manage to book a trip to Gibraltar which took me through Spain so ended up being able to spread the word in 4 different countries in a week, very interesting cannabis conversations were to be had.

Hartlepool Cannabis Club 

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2 thoughts on “Portugal – The highs and lows of decriminalisation

  1. You got ripped of xD a gram of weed is 10 euros. And in the big cities, you buy more than 2 grams of hash for 5 euro. Everywhere. A “conto” means “5 euros” in the old Portuguese coin. When you buy a “conto”, usually it weights more than 2 grams.

    The
    police is looking for drugs (but mostly in underage people) and most
    people HATE drugs. People dont even know drugs are decriminalized here. (We had a big big problem with drugs some years ago)
    But
    at least me and my friends never had big trouble with police or law.
    And we do a lot of stuff. I can smoke everywhere I want to, with my
    pipe. No fear.

    1. E queixava-se ele/ela que a polícia não falava bem o inglês. Pois, se ele/ela falasse um pouco de português, já que estava em portugal, não era roubada! Temos pena. Acontece aos mais espertos.

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