How to Get a Cannabis License in Portugal

How to Get a Cannabis License in Portugal

Do you know how to become a licensed producer in Portugal?

Cannabis, especially medical cannabis, is gaining global acceptance. Canada has led the way in cannabis legalization and regulation. Canadian cannabis companies have also been helping other nations such as Colombia and Germany produce medical-grade cannabis to support their own programs. Cannabis investors and entrepreneurs are now paying attention to Portugal. In addition to having its own medical cannabis program, Portugal has a great climate and location for cannabis cultivation for export. Outdoor cannabis grows well in Portugal and can be produced at a lower cost when compared to other European nations with cooler climates. So how does one start growing cannabis in Portugal? Continue reading for a comprehensive guide to help you become a licensed cannabis producer in Portugal.

Medical Cannabis Prescriptions in Portugal

Cannabis in Portugal is decriminalized, but it is not considered to be legal unless it is prescribed by a doctor and dispensed by a pharmacy. Medical cannabis can only be prescribed if conventional treatments have failed to work. The doctor writes the patient a prescription for a specific type of cannabis product and a specific dosage.

Applying for a Cannabis Cultivation License in Portugal

Infarmed is the Portuguese regulatory body that is responsible for regulating medical cannabis in Portugal. If you want to become a licensed cannabis producer in Portugal, their website will be your first stop for information. However, the website is in Portuguese so you’ll need to use a browser plug-in to translate it. You’ll also need someone who speaks Portuguese to assist you with other documents since many of the regulations are provided in PDF format and are in Portuguese.

The regulations for medical cannabis in Portugal are outlined in “Decreto Regulamentar n.º 61/94, de 12 de outubro." When it comes to how many cannabis cultivation licenses Portugal will grant, Chapter II, Section I, Article 5 of the regulations state (translated via Google Translate), “2 - Authorizations are only granted if based on the needs of the country, giving priority to medical, veterinary, scientific and didactic interests, with due regard for the exceptions provided for in the conventions referred to in article 3.” Medical cannabis cultivation licenses in Portugal are limited by quotas that are set by Infarmed which differs from licensing in places like Canada where recreational cannabis is also legal. There are supposedly long wait times and a significant backlog of applicants at this time, so it may be harder to become a licensed producer in Portugal than other countries.

Cultivation Licenses

Portuguese cannabis cultivation licenses are valid for one year and must be renewed annually. The cannabis cultivation licensing process requires applications to be submitted to Infarmed along with requests for criminal background checks for the indicated responsible persons. Infarmed collaborates with other government agencies such as Judiciary Police (PJ), the Public Security Police (PSP), the Republican National Guard (GNR), and the Directorate-General for Customs and Special Consumption Taxes (DGAIEC) and informs them of all cultivation license authorizations.

An application for a Portuguese cannabis cultivation license must include the following information that is outlined in Chapter II, Section II, Article 13, along with the request for criminal background checks:

  • Complete identification and address of the grower or growers (if they are not the same person as the license applicant)
  • Location and area of land where medical cannabis will be cultivated
  • Quantity and designation of the plant species to be sown or planted
  • Probable quantity of the product to be collected, its application, and destination (surpluses over 10% are not allowed and will be seized at the producer’s expense)
  • Place where the product will be stored and the respective safety conditions until it is delivered to the official agency responsible for collection

Hemp cultivation is regulated through the National Agricultural Intervention and Guarantee Institute jointly with the Judicial Police and is not regulated the same way as medical cannabis.

Cannabis Extraction Licenses

Extracting and manufacturing cannabis in Portugal requires additional authorizations. The application process is similar to the cultivation license. Again, Infarmed limits licensure to avoid the production of excess materials that surpass the needs of the legal market. Infarmed sets annual quotas but is allowed to adjust them during the year as needed. There are also additional authorizations that are needed in order to sell wholesale medical cannabis, and for importing and exporting cannabis.

Sale and Transport of Medical Cannabis

When it comes time to the sale and transfer harvested cannabis or finished medical cannabis products, there are specific procedures to be followed. The translations of these procedures leaves a lot of open questions, but it seems that Infarmed and local law enforcement both play a role in facilitating the sales and transfers of cannabis products. Overall, the Portuguese medical cannabis market is very strictly controlled and strongly regulated.

Growing Medical Cannabis in Portugal

How Does GrowerIQ Help LP’s Comply With GACP & GMP?

  • Digital recordkeeping is more reliable than paper
  • Batch numbering and batch status control
  • Seed-to-sale tracking of cannabis and accounting of weights and yields
  • Client tracking
  • Inventory control
  • Quality management software functions
  • Cultivation and monitoring software functions
  • ERP software functions

The laws and regulations set forth in “Decreto Regulamentar n.º 61/94, de 12 de outubro” are hefty and very detailed. Additionally, Infarmed requires cannabis cultivators, processors, and manufacturers to adhere to GACP and GMP guidelines. There are particularly rigorous requirements for recordkeeping and security that need to be met. GrowerIQ has contacts at Infarmed that have advocated for the use of GrowerIQ Seed-to-Sale Software to aid licensed cannabis producers in meeting GACP and GMP regulatory requirements.

Final Thoughts on Growing Cannabis in Portugal

Portugal is a great location for cannabis cultivation due to its natural climate that supports cannabis growth. However, while cannabis giants like Tilray are already operating in Portugal, there seems to be a long wait for licensing. The country is uniquely positioned to be a leading exporter of medical cannabis to other parts of Europe where cannabis does not grow well under natural conditions. Whether this hope will be realized is ultimately dependent on Infarmed and their willingness to license more cannabis cultivation based on demand for export. The international trade of cannabis is still very new so it could take years for trade agreements for cannabis to be standardized and for procedures and laws to be built and amended to facilitate such activity.

The fact that you found your way to this article is remarkable, we're sure that you're an ambitious grower. The oppourtunity in international trade does not end here. We have written guides on getting your cannabis license for more countries, such as Australia, Germany, New Zealand, and South Africa. Check out our guides over here: How to get your Medicinal Cannabis License in Australia, How to Get a Cannabis License in Germany, How to get a Cannabis License in New Zealand, and How to get a Cannabis License in South Africa.

Find Out More

GrowerIQ’s seed-to-sale software is a critical system to help you comply with medical marijuana cultivation in Portugal. Our experts can help you create a successful international cannabis venture and strive within any legal framework. To learn more, get in touch with our Cannabis professionals by completing the form below.


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