Portuguese Doctors Want Cannabis Medicine, Criticize Bill Allowing Domestic Growing

An association of doctors in Portugal is lobbying to legalize marijuana-based medicines. However, it is criticizing a bill that could allow the domestic growing of the plant, Reuters reported on Thursday.

Miguel Guimaraes, the head of the Doctor’s Association, told Reuters that the group is advocating for legalizing marijuana-derived medicines because there is new scientific evidence to back claims for medical benefits.

Guimaraes has also dismissed a draft law sponsored by the Left Bloc party that allows people to grow marijuana at home.

On Thursday, the Portuguese parliament started to debate the draft bill.

However, the Left Bloc party agreed to change the part of the draft legislation dealing with cultivation at home, saying it was prepared to make concessions to have “a workable legislation that would benefit patients.”

Compromise on Bill

With the party’s compromise, the draft bill is more acceptable to the wider spectrum politically in Portugal.

“The parliament bills should follow scientific evidence and restrict themselves at this stage to medicines, researched formulas”, Guimaraes said, while urging Portugal to conduct further clinical studies on cannabis used for smoking.

“Portugal can have an excellent opportunity here for clinical trials since we already have two instances where plantations have been authorized … It is an extremely promising area at an international level,” he said.

Portugal has long touted itself for having one of the world’s most liberal policies on drugs. It was the first in the world to decriminalize the use of all drugs in 2001 to fight a deadly heroin addiction epidemic. After focusing on treatment and prevention, Portugal has drastically reduced deaths and HIV infections.