Government declares war on ‘smart shops’

The government’s PSD party has proposed to Parliament a tighter control on so-called legal drugs, which are sold in ‘smart shops’ under ambiguous names (like plant fertilisers) and are currently unregulated in Portugal.

Stressing that four people had already died in the country due to consumption of these potentially dangerous substances (see Algarve Resident January 4 edition), the PSD MP, Cristóvão Ribeiro, wants to fight the existing legal loopholes and gauge the proliferation of health hazardous substances by putting an end to a business model that has been rising steeply in Portugal over the last few years.

Cristóvão Ribeiro, one of the authors of the law proposal discussed in Parliament last week, explained that the law would demand that labels on products should directly specify the substances composing it and describe the effects of those substances upon humans.

Also, the proposed law foresees tighter control by the authorities and even the creation of a ‘quarantine list’ for products requiring inspection, to check if they were chemically altered to bypass the law and the ban on its sale, thus taking away harmful products from the market.

Ribeiro claims that the MPs “didn’t want to decisively forbid the selling of these products, for we don’t feel any kind of prejudice against light drug users, but we couldn’t accept this culture of death”.

Other measures may include raising awareness among school communities, bearing in mind that the average consumer of ‘smart shop’ products is very young, currently around 17 years of age (see Algarve Resident, edition October 26 2012).