On Friday Portugal’s parliament voted to legalize medical marijuana products, meaning the country will likely soon join the ranks of several other European countries.
Support in parliament was overwhelmingly approving of the measure, and it now awaits only the signature of President Marcelo Rebelo de Souza before it is passed into law, as reported by the Associated Press. If signed, the law will go into effect July 1.
Though Portugal has a more-or-less 420-friendly history, their MMJ laws will be somewhat restrictive. A provision which would have allowed patients to grow their cannabis was eventually dropped from the bill.
Under the new law, medical marijuana will be sold in pharmacies to patients with a doctor’s prescription, and all cannabis medicines will be licensed by a regulatory body called Infarmed, which acts somewhat like the FDA in the United States.
Cannabis has been decriminalized in Portugal since 2001, when the government acted in an effort to counteract the country’s heroin epidemic.
Currently, the country has many legal cannabis cultivation sites, which make products exclusively for export to other countries. Portugal is said to have a climate much like California and very suitable for growing marijuana.
When it legalizes medical cannabis, Portugal will join the ranks of other European countries with medical marijuana programs including Spain, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and the Czech Republic.
Photo via Flickr user Gabriel González