The voices appear to be growing louder for moving forward from decriminalization to legalization in Portugal
This is one instance where Portugal should follow America’s economically progressive lead on marijuana legalization.
In 2000, Portugal introduced Drug Law 30/2000 which saw to the decriminalization of all drugs, from heroin to marijuana, and instituted a policy that changed the possession and use of illegal substances from a criminal one to an administrative one based on an issue related solely to public health care.
The results of this law have been positive on all levels from a law enforcement point of view to a better understanding of drug use and addiction regarding the welfare of individuals and Portuguese society as a whole. It has pushed Portugal to the forefront of progressive drug policy within the larger framework of the EU and is being viewed as an exemplary model for other countries to follow
However, as innovatively positive as DL 30/2000 has proved to be, it classifies all drugs under one umbrella as being the same in their effects on individuals, their habit-forming qualities, and their impact on society. This notion couldn’t be farther from the truth when it comes to the use of marijuana as opposed to the incredibly damaging effects of heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, opioids, and alcohol for instance with their highly physical addictive qualities and their well-documented history of destroying families, jobs, and lives.
Within the vast documentation and medical research of marijuana, it has never remotely been found to contribute to the results that other forms of more harmful drugs have had on society and individuals. On the contrary, marijuana is now being recommended for its medical benefits by clinical experts in addition to being used recreationally by doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, academics, as well as other professionals as a healthier alternative substance for relaxation and enjoyment.
Law No. 30/2000
- Issuer:Assembly of the Republic
- Diploma Type:Law
- Pages:6829 – 6833
- SUMMARYDefines the legal regime applicable to the consumption of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, as well as the health and social protection of people who consume such substances without a medical prescription.
Law No. 30/2000
It defines the legal regime applicable to the consumption of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, as well as the health and social protection of people who consume such substances without a medical prescription.
The Assembly of the Republic decrees, under the terms of paragraph c) of article 161 of the Constitution, to apply as a general law of the Republic, the following:
1 – The purpose of this law is to define the legal regime applicable to the consumption of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, as well as the health and social protection of people who consume such substances without medical prescription.
2 – The plants, substances and preparations subject to the regime provided for in this diploma are those contained in tables I to IV attached to Decree-Law no. 15/93, of 22 January.
1 – The consumption, acquisition and possession for own consumption of plants, substances or preparations included in the tables referred to in the previous article constitute an offense.
2 – For the purposes of this law, the acquisition and holding for own consumption of the substances referred to in the preceding paragraph may not exceed the amount necessary for the average individual consumption during the 10-day period.
1 – The provisions of this law are not applicable when the consumer or, in the case of a minor, banned or disabled, his legal representative requests assistance from public or private health services.
2 – Any doctor may report to the State health services the cases of abuse of plants, narcotic or psychotropic substances that he finds in the exercise of his professional activity, when he believes that treatment or assistance measures are justified in the interest of the patient, his family members or community, for which they have no means.
3 – In the cases provided for in the preceding paragraphs, confidentiality is guaranteed, with doctors, technicians and other health personnel assisting the consumer subject to the duty of professional secrecy, not being obliged to testify in an investigation or judicial process or to provide information about the nature and evolution of the therapeutic process or on the identity of the consumer.
Seizure and identification
1 – The police authorities will proceed with the identification of the consumer and, eventually, their search and the apprehension of the plants, substances or preparations referred to in article 1 found in the possession of the consumer, which are lost in favor of the State, elaborating a record of the occurrence , which will be sent to the competent territorial commission.
2 – When it is not possible to proceed to the identification of the consumer at the place and at the time of the occurrence, the police authorities may, if necessary, detain the consumer to guarantee his appearance before the commission, under the conditions of the legal regime of detention for identification.
Competence for processing, application and execution
1 – The processing of administrative offenses and the application of the respective sanctions are the responsibility of a commission called the «commission for the deterrence of drug addiction», specially created for this purpose, operating on the premises of civil governments.
2 – The enforcement of fines and alternative sanctions is the responsibility of the civilian government.
3 – In the districts with the highest concentration of cases, more than one commission may be constituted by order of the Government member responsible for the coordination of the drug and drug addiction policy.
4 – Administrative support and technical support for the functioning of the commissions are, respectively, the responsibility of civil governments and IPDT (Portuguese Institute of Drugs and Drug Addiction).
5 – The charges with the members of the commissions are borne by the IPDT.
The IPDT will maintain a central register of the administrative offense processes provided for in this law, which will be regulated by order of the Minister of Justice and by the member of the Government responsible for the coordination of the drug and drug addiction policy.
Composition and appointment of the committee
1 – The committee provided for in paragraph 1 of article 5 is composed of three persons, one of whom will preside, appointed by order of the Government member responsible for the coordination of the drug and drug addiction policy.
2 – One of the members of the commission will be a jurist appointed by the Minister of Justice, with the Minister of Health and the member of the Government responsible for the coordination of the drug and drug addiction policy appointing the others, who are chosen from among doctors, psychologists , sociologists, social service technicians or others with an adequate curriculum in the area of drug addiction, safeguarding in the exercise of their duties any cases of direct therapeutic interest or deontological conflict.
3 – The organization, the process and the operating regime of the commission are defined by order of the Minister of Justice and the member of the Government responsible for the coordination of the drug and drug addiction policy, the status of its members being defined by a joint order of the Minister Finance, the Minister of State Reform and Public Administration and the member of the Government responsible for coordinating drug and drug addiction policy.
4 – The members of the commission are subject to the duty of confidentiality in relation to the personal data contained in the process, without prejudice to the legal requirements relating to the protection of public health and to criminal proceedings, in the applicable cases.
1 – The commission for the area of the consumer’s domicile is territorially competent, unless it is not known, a circumstance in which the commission for the area in which the consumer has been found will be competent.
2 – The court with jurisdiction at the seat of the defendant is entitled to hear the appeal against the sanctioning decision.
Collaboration from other entities
1 – In order to carry out the treatment voluntarily accepted by the addicted consumer, the consumer may resort to public or private health services authorized to do so.
2 – In order to comply with the provisions of the present law, the commission and the civil government use, as appropriate, public health services, social reintegration services, police authorities and administrative authorities.
Judgment on the nature and circumstances of consumption
1 – The commission listens to the consumer and gathers the other elements necessary to formulate a judgment on whether he is addicted or not, which substances are consumed, under what circumstances he was consuming when he was questioned, where and what his economic situation is.
2 – The consumer may request the participation of a therapist of his choice during the procedure, with the regular commission being responsible for this form of participation.
3 – For the formulation of the judgment referred to in paragraph 1, the commission or the consumer may propose or request that appropriate medical examinations be carried out, including blood, urine or any other analysis that is convenient.
4 – If the definition of the nature of consumption by the commission has not been based on a medical examination with the characteristics referred to in the preceding paragraph, the consumer may request it, and its conclusions must be analyzed with a view to the possible re-weighting of the commission’s initial judgment.
5 – The examination is granted by the commission to a duly qualified health service, being borne by the consumer if he chooses a private service, and will take place within a period not exceeding 30 days.
Provisional suspension of proceedings
1 – The commission provisionally suspends the process whenever the consumer without prior registration of a previous administrative offense within the scope of this law is considered a non-addict consumer.
2 – The commission provisionally suspends the process whenever the drug addict consumer without prior registration of a previous administrative offense within the scope of this law agrees to undergo treatment.
3 – The commission may provisionally suspend the process if the addicted consumer with prior registration of a previous administrative offense within the scope of this law agrees to undergo treatment.
4 – The suspension decision is not open to challenge.
Subject to treatment
1 – If the addicted consumer agrees to undergo treatment, the commission makes the necessary communication to the public or private health service chosen by the consumer, who will be informed of the available alternatives.
2 – The option for a private health service determines that the costs of treatment are the responsibility of the consumer.
3 – The entity referred to in paragraph 1 informs the commission, every three months, about the continuity or not of the treatment.
Duration and effects of suspension
1 – The suspension of the process may last up to two years, and may be extended for another year by reasoned decision of the commission.
2 – The commission files the process, and cannot be reopened if:
a) In the case of a non-addict consumer, there has been no recurrence;
b) The addicted consumer has undergone the treatment and has not interrupted it unduly.
3 – Apart from the cases provided for in the preceding paragraph, the process continues.
4 – The prescription of the procedure does not run during the period of suspension of the process.
Suspension of sanction determination in the case of voluntary treatment
1 – The commission may suspend the determination of the sanction if the addicted consumer agrees to voluntarily undergo treatment in a duly qualified public or private service.
2 – The suspension period can be up to three years.
3 – If during the period of the suspension, for reasons attributable to him, the addict does not submit to or interrupt the treatment, the suspension is revoked and the sanction corresponding to the infraction is determined.
4 – The commission declares the case to be terminated if, after the period of suspension has elapsed, there are no reasons that could lead to its revocation.
5 – The refusal to submit to treatment under the terms of article 11 and the continuation of the process under the terms of article 13 do not prejudice the provisions of paragraph 1 of this article.
6 – The provisions of paragraph 2 of article 12 and paragraph 4 of article 13 are correspondingly applicable.
1 – Non-drug users may be fined or, alternatively, non-pecuniary sanction.
2 – Non-financial sanctions are applied to drug addicted consumers.
3 – The commission determines the sanction according to the need to prevent the consumption of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
4 – In applying the sanctions, the commission shall take into account the consumer’s situation and the nature and circumstances of consumption, considering, namely:
a) The gravity of the act;
b) The fault of the agent;
c) The type of plants, substances or preparations consumed;
d) The public or private nature of consumption;
e) In the case of public consumption, the place of consumption;
f) In the case of a non-addict consumer, the occasional or habitual nature of consumption;
g) The personal situation, namely economic and financial, of the consumer.
1 – In the case of plants, substances or preparations included in tables IA, IB, II-A, II-B and II-C, the fine is between a minimum of 5000 $ 00 and a maximum equivalent to the national minimum wage.
2 – In the case of substances or preparations included in tables IC, III and IV, the fine is from 5000 $ 00 to 30,000 $ 00.
3 – The amounts corresponding to the payment of fines are distributed as follows:
a) 60% for the State;
b) 20% for the SPTT (Service for the Prevention and Treatment of Drug Addiction);
c) 10% for the civilian government;
d) 10% for the IPDT.
1 – The commission may impose an admonition sanction as an alternative to the fine.
2 – Without prejudice to the provisions of paragraph 2 of article 15, the commission may apply the following sanctions, as an alternative to the fine or principal:
a) Prohibition to practice a profession or activity, namely those subject to a licensing regime, when this results in a risk to the integrity of the employee or of third parties;
b) Prohibition of frequency of certain places;
c) Prohibition to accompany, accommodate or receive certain persons;
d) Prohibition of absence abroad without authorization;
e) Periodic presentation at a location to be designated by the commission;
f) Revocation, prohibition on granting or renewing a license to use and carry a defense, hunting, precision or recreational weapon;
g) Seizure of objects that belong to themselves and represent a risk to this or to the community or favor the practice of a crime or other administrative offense;
h) Deprivation of the management of the subsidy or benefit attributed in a personal capacity by public entities or services, which will be entrusted to the entity that conducts the process or to the one that accompanies the treatment process, when accepted.
3 – As an alternative to the sanctions provided for in the preceding paragraphs, the commission may, upon acceptance by the consumer, determine the delivery to public or private institutions of social solidarity of a monetary contribution or the provision of free services to the community, in accordance regime of paragraphs 3 and 4 of article 58 of the Penal Code.
4 – The commission may suspend the execution of any of the sanctions referred to in the preceding paragraphs, replacing it with the fulfillment of certain obligations, under the terms of article 19.
1 – The commission shall issue an admonition if, taking into account the agent’s personal conditions, the type of consumption and the type of plants, substances or preparations consumed, it considers that the agent will abstain in the future from consuming.
2 – The admonition consists of an oral censorship, the consumer being explicitly alerted to the consequences of his behavior and urged to refrain from consuming.
3 – The commission issues the admonition when the decision to be applied becomes final.
4 – The commission shall issue the admonition immediately if the consumer declares that he renounces the lodging of an appeal.
Suspension of enforcement of the sanction
1 – In the case of a drug addict whose treatment is not feasible, or is not accepted by him, the commission may promote the suspension of the enforcement of the sanction, imposing the periodic presentation of this to health services, as often as they deem necessary, with a view to improving sanitary conditions, and the suspension of execution may also be subject to the acceptance by the consumer of the measures provided for in paragraph 3.
2 – In the case of a non-drug addict consumer, the commission may choose to suspend the enforcement of the sanction if, taking into account the agent’s personal conditions, the type of consumption and the type of plants, substances or preparations consumed, it concludes that in this way it takes place more appropriately the purpose of preventing consumption and if the consumer accepts the conditions proposed to him by the commission under the terms of the following paragraphs.
3 – The commission may propose other monitoring solutions especially advisable for the particularity of each case, in terms that guarantee respect for the dignity of the individual and with his acceptance, among the measures provided for in paragraphs a) to d) of paragraph 2 Article 17
4 – The regime for the periodic presentation provided for in paragraph 1 is fixed by order of the Minister of Health.
Duration of suspension of enforcement of the sanction
1 – The suspension period is fixed between one and three years from the final decision, not counting for the period the time in which the consumer is deprived of liberty by virtue of procedural coercion, penalty or security measure .
2 – The commission determines the duration of the measures provided for in paragraph 3 of the previous article, and the maximum limit of six months cannot be exceeded.
1 – In case of suspension of the execution of the sanction with periodic presentation to the health services, the commission makes the necessary communication to the health center in the area of the consumer’s home or to another health service that is agreed with him.
2 – The entity referred to in the previous number informs the commission about the regularity of the presentations and, if applicable, the non-compliance by the consumer, with an indication of the reasons that are known to him.
Communication of measures
1 – The decision to suspend the enforcement of the sanction is communicated to the services and authorities to which collaboration is requested in order to monitor compliance with the measures.
2 – The services and authorities referred to in the preceding paragraph shall notify the commission of the failure to comply with the measures, for the purposes of the provisions of paragraphs 2 and 3 of the following article.
1 – The commission declares the sanction to be extinguished if, after the suspension period has elapsed, there are no reasons that could lead to its revocation.
2 – The suspension of the enforcement of the sanction is revoked whenever, during its course, the consumer repeatedly infringes the imposed measures.
3 – The revocation of the suspension determines the compliance with the sanction applied.
Duration of sanctions
The sanctions provided for in Article 17 (2) and the accompanying measures provided for in Article 19 will have a minimum duration of one month and a maximum duration of three years.
Compliance with sanctions and accompanying measures
The decision to enact sanctions or accompanying measures is communicated to the civilian government, which is responsible for officiating the services and authorities to which collaboration should be requested in order to carry out these measures.
In the absence of a specific provision of this law, the general regime for administrative offenses is subsidiarily applicable.
Application in the Autonomous Regions
In the Autonomous Regions, the geographic distribution and composition of the commissions, the competence to nominate their members, the definition of services with intervention in administrative offenses processes and the destination of fines are established by regional legislative decree.
Article 40, except for cultivation, and article 41 of Decree-Law no. 15/93, of January 22, as well as other provisions that are incompatible with the present regime, are revoked.
The decriminalization approved by this law enters into force throughout the national territory on July 1, 2001, and all necessary regulatory, organizational, technical and financial measures must be adopted within 180 days from the date of its publication. the application of the treatment and inspection regime provided for therein.
Approved on October 19, 2000.
The President of the Assembly of the Republic, António de Almeida Santos.
Enacted on 14 November 2000.
The President of the Republic, JORGE SAMPAIO.
Countersigned on 16 November 2000.
The Prime Minister, António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres.