Cannabis export multiplied by 6 in one year
By way of background, last year Portugal exported 30 tonnes of home-grown flowers dried to at least 10% moisture content, whereas in 2020 this figure was only 4.5 tonnes. This is an impressive increase of 566% and it is expected that this figure will be exceeded in 2022! Indeed, figures reveal that so far 10 tons of cannabis have been sold abroad between January and February. According to Le Quotidien, the destinations for the largest sales volumes remain Canada and Israel, although France, the UK, Australia and the US are now growing markets.
A fully under-controlled culture
Portugal has a sunny climate that is very favourable to cannabis cultivation, which is subject to strict regulations to ensure a quality product. At present, Portugal has huge cannabis plantations covering thousands of hectares in the south of the country, in the agricultural region of Alentejo and in the Algarve. The Jornal de Notícias states that the plantations are under close surveillance, to the point of being "better guarded than prisons".
Authorised since 2019 in Portugal, the cultivation and export of medical cannabis has had time to establish itself in the country. The sector now has 18 international or, more rarely, national companies fully dedicated to the cannabis market, while many others are queuing up to enter the market while waiting for the authorities' approval.
The companies are focusing their strategy on research to select the most profitable varieties from a pharmaceutical point of view, but also those that will adapt most easily to the microclimate of the two regions concerned.