The cannabis market on the Iberian Peninsula is alive and well…and getting better, albeit slowly. I just returned from a fabulous trip to Portugal and Spain. It was wonderful to easily find several cannabis shops in both countries. It wasn’t that surprising as I was in Italy a few years ago and found cannabis shops in Milan.
Throughout the European Union, CBD hemp (but only CBD) is legal, and both Portugal and Spain are members. There is a stated legal limit of .2% THC which is a very small amount. You’d have to consume a whole lot of cannabis to get any effect at .2%. That’s 1/5 of 1% allowable THC in any CBD product. Apparently there is a lot of fudging of that number going on.
The Similarities of Cannabis in Spain and Portugal
Spain and Portugal are often confused. While it’s easy to think they’re they’re pretty much the same place, they are two separate countries that make up the Iberian Peninsula. Spain and Portugal share much common history, they diverged more than 500 years ago. They do not share a language. They do not share much of a common culture although both are now in the EU. And as such, they share a path to decriminalize and eventually legalize cannabis and cannabis sales. Both do have sales, ostensibly of CBD, but there are differences between the two countries as well.
The Conundrum in Portugal
There is one problem with cannabis in Portugal and it’s a BIG one. In Portugal, you can have cannabis bud in your possession. It’s not illegal. Possession of weed has been decriminalized. However, buying it is illegal. So where do you get the flower in Portugal? Illegally, of course. Once it’s in your possession, it’s legal. What? Well, legally, you cannot buy cannabis. But you can legally possess cannabis. It’s decriminalized. Kinda crazy,
but that’s what the world of legal cannabis looks like in the early 2020’s throughout the world.
While selling cannabis in Portugal is illegal, you can buy CBD, cannabis-based products, with less than 0.2% THC. There is apparently, no limit on the amount of CBD that can be in cannabis.
What’s Legal in Spain
In Spain, as in Portugal (as well as the rest of the EU), possession is also legal (or decriminalized, depending on your view). You can grow cannabis for your own consumption, but it is illegal to sell. In compliance with EU policy, the THC limit for cannabis-based products is 0.2%. But when
asked in the two shops we visited in Madrid, both said 2%, not .2%! What gives? If it was misinformation in one shop, OK, I get that. But two independent shops? There’s something a little crazy going on in Madrid.
Who is Selling Cannabis in Spain and Portugal
There are many cannabis shops in the tourist centers of both Spain and Portugal. I stopped into a few, and the staff was friendly and spoke a good amount of English.
What’s Going to Happen?
The shops were crowded and lots of people were buying flower, vape cartridges and edibles, both solid and liquid, all with the legal limit of THC. I have a feeling that as crowded as the shops are now, they’re going to get insane when real cannabis is finally legalized. Both Spain and Portugal have fabulous growing conditions, so maybe some legendary weed will be coming from those two countries. Can’t wait to find out.