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2018: Vancouver Sun: Daphne Bramham: Portugal’s goal is setting drug users on a path to recovery. Excerpts:

LISBON, Portugal — Nuno Capaz is a tough-looking man, tall, unshaven and gradual to smile…Vice President of Lisbon’s Commission for the Dissuasion of Drug Addiction. He has a doctorate in sociology and it’s his job to attempt to put Portuguese drug customers on a path to restoration and be sure that they’re contributing members of society.

Capaz is bemused by the sheer variety of foreigners and media who present up at his door… “What makes me mad is that normally people hear decriminalization and they mix it up with legalization or they are thinking that it is a free-for-all,” Capaz mentioned. “It’s not like that at all.”

Capaz mentioned that whereas possessing and utilizing illicit medicine in Portugal is not a prison offence, it stays unlawful. And the sale and buying of these medicine stays a prison offence. As a outcome, there isn’t any tolerance right here for medicine in public locations. Police nonetheless arrest folks present in possession of medicine. They confiscate the medicine and weigh them, evaluating the burden in opposition to the boundaries set by legislation for what’s acceptable for private use. For hashish, the edge is 25 grams. For cannabis, it’s 5 grams, for cocaine two grams, and for heroin or ecstasy it’s one gram.

Anyone discovered with greater than the private use restrict in Portugal faces prison prices. People with medicine for private use are written a summons to look earlier than the dissuasion fee the next day…Vitor Gonsalves was each apprehensive and defiant when he confirmed up for his evaluation assembly with a medical psychologist, Raquel Lopes….But Gonsalves was additionally defiant, insisting on his proper to hashish for private possession. (no sanctions for him, however apparently the fee had a hope he would stop smoking weed.)

Story 2 from Bramham: Decriminalization is no silver bullet, says Portugal’s drug czar. Excerpts:

Lisbon isn’t any Vancouver…During two weeks right here, I noticed not more than half a dozen individuals who have been clearly excessive… There are not any hashish retailers, not to mention one on virtually each nook. The scent of marijuana doesn’t permeate downtown streets, or any streets for that matter. Medical marijuana was solely legalized in June.

The notion of legalizing leisure marijuana is anathema right here. No addicts brazenly inject heroin, smoke or inhale illicit substances, and there’s no drug market the place sellers brazenly promote…When you ask residents what they’d do in the event that they noticed somebody promoting or utilizing medicine in public, most say they’d both inform them to do it some other place or they’d name the police in hopes the consumer could possibly be coaxed into therapy and restoration.

(Have to repeat this: “The notion of legalizing recreational marijuana is anathema here.”)

Abstinence — outlined as freedom from any type of illicit drug use — is the long-term purpose for all addicts, in response to Goulão, and Nuno Capaz, vice-president of Lisbon’s fee for the dissuasion of drug use…

(for those who come earlier than) the Commission for the Dissuasion of Drug Addiction…you’ll be interviewed by a psychologist or social employee earlier than showing earlier than a three-person panel that may provide recommendations aimed toward stopping your drug use. From there, you’re fast-tracked to no matter providers you’re prepared to just accept. If you refuse assist, you might be requested to do group service and even, finally, dealing with a high-quality, even perhaps having possessions confiscated and bought to pay the high-quality.

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Fined for onerous drug use and possessions perhaps confiscated for those who do not pay? OK. Appear earlier than the panel even for weed? Quite totally different from the narrative we hear so usually about Portugal being one other Amsterdam…legalizing all medicine. Or this journalist is manner off on reporting….

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