The Road towards the Responsible and Safe Legalization of Cannabis Use in Portugal

Authors

  • Ricardo Baptista-Leite 1. Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences. Maastricht University. Maastricht. The Netherlands. 2. Instituto de Ciências da Saúde. Universidade Católica Portuguesa. Lisboa. Portugal.
  • Lisa Ploeg 2. Instituto de Ciências da Saúde. Universidade Católica Portuguesa. Lisboa. Portugal.

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.20344/amp.10093

Keywords:

Cannabis, Drug Approval, Drug and Narcotic Control, Government Regulation, Health Policy, Portugal

Abstract

Introduction: Recently, the world has seen examples of the legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes. Due to the diversity of experiences in progress, it is urgent to analyze the impacts of this legalization, from a public health perspective. Therefore, this article aims to review the accumulated knowledge in the states and countries where the use of cannabis is legal and to ponder over the relevance of starting a similar path towards legalization in Portugal, thus supporting political decisions to be properly informed and evidence-based.
Material and Methods: An extensive literature review was performed using databases and scientific journals, such as PubMed, as well as the search of institutional documentation, including the EMCDDA and SICAD.
Results: The gathered information provided insights and enabled assessment of (1) the acute and chronic effects of cannabis use on health, (2) the Portuguese situation related to cannabis and (3) the processes and lessons learned after the legalization of cannabis in other countries or states. Given the above, and according to the data presented, the authors argue for a safe and responsible strategy towards the legalization of cannabis use in Portugal. In accordance, a set of concrete proposals are presented.
Discussion: From a public health perspective, it is assumed that the interest of this proposal is to reduce the problematic use of cannabis, to effectively fight against illicit drug trafficking and drug-related crime, as well as health promotion and prevention of addictions and other adverse health impacts. This article reveals that the effects of legalization might, contrary to general beliefs, generate positive results with respect to these aims, given that there will be greater control on the market, price, quality, and information - to name a few - if implementation occurs with proper consideration and definition.
Conclusion: The debate on the responsible and safe legalization of cannabis use in Portugal should be open and promoted, based on a public health perspective.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Ricardo Baptista-Leite, 1. Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences. Maastricht University. Maastricht. The Netherlands. 2. Instituto de Ciências da Saúde. Universidade Católica Portuguesa. Lisboa. Portugal.

Dr. Ricardo Baptista-Leite is a Medical Doctor and Member of the Portuguese National Parliament (Health and Foreign Affairs Committees).

Under the auspices of UNAIDS, Founding President of ‘UNITE –Parliamentarians Network to End HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis and Tuberculosis’, a global platform of policy makers.

One of the six people to have been acknowledged globally by ‘The Economist’ as a ‘HCV Change Maker’ in recognition of his leadership in the field of hepatitis c.

Head of Public Health at Catolica University of Portugal, Coordinator of Sustainable Healthcare at NOVA Information Management School and Guest Lecturer at NOVA Medical School.

Former Deputy Mayor of Cascais (2015-2017) responsible for local health strategy and international relations. 

Prior to election as MP, practicing physician for 7 years, including a 5-year infectious diseases residency and an internship at the World Health Organization (Copenhagen). He has also worked for over a decade in health information technologies.

PhD candidate in Public Health at Maastricht University having completed post-graduate studies in multiple universities including Johns Hopkins, Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Medical School.

Founder of ‘CREATING HEALTH – Research and Innovation Funding’ (http://creatinghealth.ics.lisboa.ucp.pt) and co-founder of the ‘Estoril Conferences’ (www.estorilconferences.com).

Volunteer in development and patient organizations. Member of multiple networks including European Young Leaders (Friends of Europe), Responsible Leaders Network (BMW Foundation), Millennium Fellowship (The Atlantic Council), Memorial Marshall Fellowship (German Marshall Fund) and ZEIT Stiftung Alumni. Main author of the book “Citizenship for Health”.

Published

2018-02-28

How to Cite

1.
Baptista-Leite R, Ploeg L. The Road towards the Responsible and Safe Legalization of Cannabis Use in Portugal. Acta Med Port [Internet]. 2018 Feb. 28 [cited 2023 Jan. 31];31(2):115-2. Available from: https://actamedicaportuguesa.com/revista/index.php/amp/article/view/10093

Issue

Section

Review Articles