Decriminalisation in Portugal

"Until July 2001 drug use was considered a criminal offence punishable with imprisonment up to 3 months or a fine. If the quantity of illicit drugs found in possession exceeded 3 daily doses, the penalty could go up to 1 year or a fine. The law envisaged the suspension of the sentences for occasional users. Possession of drugs was also considered a criminal offence punishable according to the motivation behind the offence: whether the drug was for personal use, for retail, or for trafficking.
"As stated, the legal situation has changed after the adoption of the Portuguese strategy on drugs in 1999 and the consequent Law 30/2000 decriminalising use and possession for use of all illicit drugs.
"The new law in force from July 2001 maintains the status of illegality for all drugs and for using them without authorisation. However, the punishment of illegal drug use has changed.
"From now on for anyone caught in possession of a modest quantity of drugs for personal use (established by law, this shall not exceed the quantity required for an average individual consumption during a period of 10 days), the police having no further suspicions or evidence that more serious offences are involved (sale, traffic), the drug will be seized and the case transmitted to a local Commission composed of a lawyer, a doctor and a social assistant. The Commission meets the person charged with illegal drug use/possession, in order to evaluate his/her situation with the aim of treating eventual addictions and rehabilitating the person; sanctioning, even if possible, is not the main objective in this phase. Control of sale of drugs for commercial purposes still remain one of the objectives of law enforcement authorities."


"Drug Policy Profiles: Portugal," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) (Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2014), last accessed June 7, 2014.