Portugal’s experience with cannabis has been shaped by a complicated interaction between changing views, societal shifts, and historical background. We explore common myths about cannabis in Portugal, their effects on the developing cannabis market, and the latest developments that are changing the scene.
We prepared this article together with a Portuguese cannabis activist and marketer, Rafaela Rafagnin. She is a cannabis communication specialist and ex-budtender, staying up to date with all aspects of the Portuguese market.
Prejudices and misconceptions
In Portugal, prejudices have their origins in the heroin crisis of the mid-1990s, which resulted in the liberalisation of drug usage. Even with the rising medical and therapeutic applications of cannabis, it is difficult to have a discourse about the drug to those who experienced the drug misuse issues of the 1980s and 1990s. But a younger generation is seeing the therapeutic possibilities, indicating a change in the way society views things.
These false beliefs have caused problems for Portugal’s cannabis market. Progress in regulations, particularly with regard to THC and other cannabinoids, has been slow. However, the decriminalised atmosphere has made it possible to explore a variety of industries, including food, textiles, construction, and cosmetics. The cannabis market has become more vast and diverse over time due to shifting perceptions.
Challenges for workers in the cannabis industry
The challenges faced by budtenders in Portugal include dealing with disinformation and legal difficulties, especially while serving visitors in Lisbon. Locals may show scepticism due to the stigma associated with cannabis. In order to dispel misconceptions and promote a more candid conversation about cannabis, education through historical context and educational talks becomes essential.
A variety of initiatives are necessary for effective cannabis education, ranging from formal teaching via talks, movies, debates, and informational spaces to word-of-mouth sharing of positive experiences. These are effective strategies in changing public perceptions and attitudes. The focus is on educating the public about the possible health benefits of cannabis and battling prejudice through broad information distribution.
The Portuguese cannabis market is currently experiencing optimism, but difficulties with the increasing normalisation and regulating processes still exist. Surely there is hope following the recent announcement about cannabis regulations in Germany. However, managing the legal complexity, societal reactions, and changing market demands remains a challenging undertaking.
Opportunities and challenges in Portugal
Portugal’s distinct environment, which draws tourists and encourages growing, stands out as a major advantage for the cannabis business. Portugal is ideally positioned for retail enterprises due to the combination of its good weather and tourism industry. There are an increasing number of licensed businesses operating in the country’s cannabis sector.
Moreover, there will always be some health concerns associated with cannabis consumption. However, they can be addressed through a range of products, including oils and creams for pain relief. Dispelling misunderstandings about cannabis usage and educating clients about its numerous uses are the top priorities for cannabis stores. They also stress harm reduction in smoking and provide educational tools on their websites.
Portugal’s cannabis environment is changing, with new regulations, a focus on various business sectors, and a shift in public attitudes. The Portuguese cannabis market is ready to expand as myths slowly fade and it takes the distinctive prospects that make it stand out on the international scene.