Drug policies have traditionally sought to suppress supply and deter use through the application of punitive laws. Today, there is a growing recognition that these drug policies have not only failed to reach their objectives but have resulted in a great deal of collateral damage. Drug policy must be reformed to focus on health, human rights and development objectives, with the aim of making the market less harmful rather than necessarily reducing its size.
On 29 January 2004, an amendment to the drug laws came into effect in the UK that moved cannabis and its derivatives from Class B to Class C under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, the primary drug control legislation in the UK.
This article provides some background information on drugs and drug usage in Portugal and trace the development of the changes in Portuguese drug policy and what the anticipated results of the changes will be.