The cultivation of cannabis for medicinal purposes in Portugal has bloomed in recent years with 20 licences to farm the plant issued in 2022 and 27 licences for export granted in the same year.
According to Negócios, there were more than 100 companies in the business in Portugal, although one of the largest producers in the country – Cleaver Leaves – decided to exit the Portuguese market.
This is according to data from the Portuguese National Authority of Medicines and Health Products (Infarmed), which states that all aspects of the business in Portugal grew in 2022 (farming, processing, importing/exporting, and selling cannabis products).
In 2022, there were 20 companies with licences to grow cannabis in Portugal (+2 on 2021), while 27 companies had licences to export/import cannabis and/or cannabis-based products (+9 on 2021).
The number of licences for processing rose from four to nine, while licences to sell cannabis in one form or another increased from five to 12.
But even more companies are seeking licences, with 99 applications awaiting approval to grow the plant, 40 companies to process the weed, 17 to sell it, and 149 to import/export it.
And exports from Portugal have grown too by around +63% on 2021, with Germany, Israel and Spain among the main export destinations. Almost all of the cannabis grown and processed in Portugal is for the export market.
Medicinal preparations and substances derived from cultivation increased 62.8% from 5.69 tonnes in 2021 to 9.27 tonnes in 2022. By way of comparison, in 2016, when the cultivation and exploration of cannabis was legalised in Portugal, only 106 kilograms of product was sold. Six years on and 20.83 tonnes of cannabis have been exported from Portugal. Figures have not been advanced for the total value of exports from Portugal, but figures for the market posted in 2021 suggested it was worth around €26 million.
But it wasn’t all good news. One company, Cleaver Leaves, decided to pull out of the Portuguese market after setting up in São Teotónio near Odemira in 2019. It also had a processing plant in Setúbal.
The US company said it was pulling out following a restructuring plan of its operations which involves concentrating its production capacity in Colombia.
Source: Essential Business