Connect with us


Portugal Exports 99.85% of its Medical Cannabis, Selling only 17 Kg on the Local Market

In 2023, Portugal exported 11 tons of medical cannabis, but only 17 kilograms were sold domestically. Despite legalization in 2018, limited access forces patients to resort to the black market. Export to Germany, Poland, and Australia is robust, but domestic sales remain nascent. Somai Pharmaceuticals aims to enter the market, while advocates push for improved access.




In 2023, Portugal exported 11 tons of medical cannabis, but only 17 kilograms were sold on the internal market. Even though medical cannabis is legal in Portugal, local patients still have limited access to it and are often forced to seek medicines on the black market.

Portugal was the first country in the world to decriminalize the recreational use of all drugs in 2001. The next step was the legalization of medical cannabis in 2018 and the introduction of regulations in 2019 that were intended to enable the use of cannabis-based products for medicinal purposes. Unfortunately, despite these advances, access to medical cannabis remains highly limited.

The current situation of the medical cannabis market

In 2023, only one product containing cannabis was available on the Portuguese market – dried flower from the Canadian company Tilray with 18% THC content. The price of one package (15 g) was 150 euros, which is much higher than the black market prices. Moreover, the flowers can only be prescribed to patients suffering from one of seven specific diseases for which all other “pharmacological” options have failed. Unfortunately, the largest domestic pharmaceutical companies do not stock this product, and in 2023 only a little over a thousand packages were sold, which equals 17 kilograms.

Meanwhile, in the first half of 2023, the country has already exported over 5.4 tons of this product, and the main recipients are Germany, Poland and Australia. Despite impressive export numbers, the local market is still in its infancy in terms of cannabis sales in pharmacies.

In just a few months of 2023, Portugal delivered 1,678 kg to Germany, 1,589 kg to Poland, and 955 kg to Australia of medical cannabis- indicates the latest report published by the Portuguese Pharmaceutical Institute Infarmed. The latest data covers the first half of 2023.

These data show the dynamic development of the Portuguese medical cannabis sector, which seems to be just starting to reach its full potential. However, despite impressive exports, only 17 kg of cannabis were sold in pharmacies in the Portuguese internal market, showing that medical cannabis is still rarely prescribed in the country.

In 2023, Portugal exported 11 tons of medical cannabis, but only 17 kilograms were sold on the internal market. Source

The role and influence of pharmaceutical companies in Portugal

Companies such as Somai Pharmaceuticals, which was founded in 2019, play a key role in the medical cannabis landscape in Portugal. Although Somai has ambitions to become a global leader in the industry, none of the company’s 80 different pharmaceutical products are available in Portugal. Michael Sassano, the company’s founder, expressed hope for quick registration of new products and entry into the Portuguese market, but emphasized that this market is still relatively small compared to giants such as Australia or Germany.

Prospects and hopes for the future

Recently, three new medical cannabis products were given the green light to enter the Portuguese market. Carla Dias, president of the Portuguese Observatory for Cannabis, hopes that the availability of medical cannabis in the country will improve. Meanwhile, in February, the European Commission registered a citizens’ initiative calling for better access to medical cannabis, which may bring changes to regulations at the EU level.

Even though Portugal is one of the leaders in cannabis production in the European Union, local patients still struggle with access to medical cannabis. Further changes in legislation and medical education are needed for patients to fully realize the potential benefits of medical cannabis treatment. The example of Paula Motta and other parents fighting for a better life for their children highlights how important it is for these changes to happen as quickly as possible.


(Featured image by Terrance Barksdale via Pexels)

DISCLAIMER: This article was written by a third party contributor and does not reflect the opinion of Born2Invest, its management, staff or its associates. Please review our disclaimer for more information.

This article may include forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements generally are identified by the words “believe,” “project,” “estimate,” “become,” “plan,” “will,” and similar expressions. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks as well as uncertainties, including those discussed in the following cautionary statements and elsewhere in this article and on this site. Although the Company may believe that its expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, the actual results that the Company may achieve may differ materially from any forward-looking statements, which reflect the opinions of the management of the Company only as of the date hereof. Additionally, please make sure to read these important disclosures.

First published in FaktyKonopne. A third-party contributor translated and adapted the articles from the originals. In case of discrepancy, the originals will prevail.

Although we made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translations, some parts may be incorrect. Born2Invest assumes no responsibility for errors, omissions or ambiguities in the translations provided on this website. Any person or entity relying on translated content does so at their own risk. Born2Invest is not responsible for losses caused by such reliance on the accuracy or reliability of translated information. If you wish to report an error or inaccuracy in the translation, we encourage you to contact us

Arturo Garcia started out as a political writer for a local newspaper in Peru, before covering big-league sports for national broadsheets. Eventually he began writing about innovative tech and business trends, which let him travel all over North and South America. Currently he is exploring the world of Bitcoin and cannabis, two hot commodities which he believes are poised to change history.