"By the end of the year, we will have the necessary law in Portugal to regulate, from cultivation to dispensing, cannabis medicines," Machado told reporters on the sidelines of the First Portuguese Conference on Medicinal Cannabis - Lisbon Medical Cannabis, organised by Cannativa - Association of Cannabis Studies, taking place on Friday and Saturday in Lisbon.

At the conference, the president of the Portuguese drug authority said that the legislation "is very close to being completed."

In order to give "every Portuguese person" the assurance that cannabis medicines are high quality, effective and safe Infarmed is drawing up legislation to "regulate the entire cannabis circuit from cultivation to dispensing, which will be at pharmacies," she said.

Machado explained that Infarmed presented the proposed legislation to the Ministry of Health in September, according to schedule, and requests were made to Portuguese public and private organisations that have a responsibility for the draft law.

Opinions were requested from the Medical Association, the Order of Pharmacists, the Portuguese Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry (Apifarma), distributors and the National Association of Pharmacies (ANF), some of which have already submitted their contributions, which have already been included in the bill, she said.

"At the moment we are waiting for everyone to respond, namely the Medical Association, to finsih the final draft of the bill," said Machado.

On the benefits of cannabis-based medicines Machado said that "as a doctor and paediatrician," she is convinced that in specific clinical situations, "cannabis can be an aid to patients, both children and adults."

The use of drugs, preparations and substances based on cannabis was approved by the Portuguese parliament on 15 June.

According to the bill, cannabis-based medicines or preparations must be prescribed byu a doctor, but only if other conventional therapies have adverse or unwanted effects.

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