Portuguese Police Prefer Pot Smokers to Drinkers

Police officials in Lisbon, Portugal, where the Euro 2004 soccer championship is being held, won’t bother fans smoking pot but will crack down on public drinking, the Guardian reported June 11.

The policy was based on a recommendation from Dutch police, who maintained security during Euro 2000. Officials indicated that pot-smokers tended to be less of a security threat than drinkers.

“We won’t be hiding behind doors waiting for someone to smoke a joint. We have to use common sense,” said Isabel Canelas, a spokeswoman for the Portuguese police. “If people are smoking but not kicking each other, not beating each other, and not making a problem, why on earth would an officer go and ask, ‘Is that cannabis?'”

“Our priority is alcohol,” Canelas said. “Of course, if people cause a problem through using drugs and become a menace to others, police will be expected to take action. It would be totally different when a police officer realizes there’s someone trying to sell.”

Although possession of small amounts of cannabis is allowed in Portugal, consumption is technically illegal.