Archipelagos have their own often acute drug issues, but were not even consulted
The speaker of Madeira’s regional assembly, José Manuel Rodrigues, has asked Portugal’s head of state not to sign into law a decree-law on the sanctioning regime for the holding of drugs for consumption, alleging its passage into law constitutes a “violation of the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic.”
In a letter sent to Portugal’s president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Rodrigues argues that the diploma was approved on July 19 without “fulfilling the duty to hear the self-government bodies of the autonomous regions” of Madeira and the Azores.
At stake is legislation that “clarifies the criminal regulatory framework regarding the detention of drugs for consumption regardless of quantity and establishes regular deadlines for updating regulatory standards” – including new psychoactive substances (synthetic drugs).
The final text was presented by the committee on constitutional affairs, rights, freedoms and guarantees of Portugal’s national parliament, based on bills put forward by the governing Socialist Party (PS) and main opposition Social Democratic Party (PSD), and approved in a plenary session with votes in favour of the PS, the Liberal Initiative (IL), Left Bloc (BE), Communist Party (PCP), People-Animals-Nature (PAN) and Livre, and votes against by members for right-wing CHEGA, with abstentions on the part of the PSD and PS members Maria da Luz Rosinha, Carlos Brás, Rui Lage, Fátima Fonseca, Catarina Lobo, Maria João Castro, Tiago Barbosa Ribeiro, António Faria and Joaquim Barreto.
In the letter sent to Marcelo, the Madeira speaker emphasises that the obligation to consult regional bodies “is effective and is verified, from the outset, because it is a significantly sensitive diploma from the point of view of the political and legislative approach, whose matter needs continuous evaluation, as well as open and informed discussion, which could not leave out portions of national territory with its own particularities”.
(Anyone who knows either archipelago will be aware they have their own often acute issues with drug taking and even manufacturing.)
“The institutional cooperation of the Assembly of the Republic with the Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region of Madeira, in matters concerning the region, with relevant and particular incidence in it, was neglected by the latter,” continues the diplomatically-phrased text from Rodrigues, who was put forward for speaker of the regional assembly by the conservative People’s Party (CDS-PP), within the framework of its coalition government with the PSD in the region, established in 2019.
Rodrigues reiterates that, in the case of the decree on the holding of drugs, the failure of the Assembly of the Republic to fulfil its duty to hear the self-government bodies of the autonomous regions “leads to its unconstitutionality and illegality.”
He therefore requests that the legislation not be enacted, on grounds of violation of Portugal’s constitution, of the laws governing the status of the Autonomous Region of Madeira and of the law on the hearing of the regional assembly.