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Portuguese police return cannabis flower after acquittal in drug case

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Portuguese law authorities have returned 40 kilograms of cannabis flowers to a businessman who was acquitted of drug smuggling charges in April.

The return of the products was part of a settlement in the case of Patrick Martins, a cannabis seller and president of the Association of Industrial Hemp Dealers in Portugal (ACCIP), who was found innocent under drug laws for selling packaged cannabis blossoms.

Martins was arrested in July 2020, when Portuguese judicial police confiscated most of the products from his Green Swallow CBD store. In all, the authorities raided Martins’ property four times that year, confiscating 100,000 euros worth of products.

“It is a historic day for industrial hemp and for players in the cannabis sector in Portugal,” said Humberto Nogueira, Vice President of ACCIP.

Martins’ legal journey, which took two years to navigate through Portuguese courts, involved pointing guns at him, handcuffing him, and holding him.

in an interview After he was acquitted last spring, Martins said the case hurt his company badly.

In 2019, it paid about 300,000 euros in taxes, and its turnover was about 1 million euros. With the company’s expenses, the COVID-19 virus on top of all these additional concerns, I couldn’t even pay minimum wage most months.”

Tension around the flowers

Portuguese cannabis stakeholders pushed for rational laws that would encourage the production of all parts of the cannabis plant. But Law which came into force last January imposed severe restrictions on cannabis production and was specifically aimed at shutting down the trade in cannabis flowers – in violation of clear EU laws.

Stakeholders said the law dampens incentives for growers and processors, and puts the country’s nascent cannabis industry at risk.

“We are a far cry from the promises of the government, which often boasts of encouraging young entrepreneurs,” Martins said.

Martins also said after his acquittal that he would seek €10m in compensation.

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