Portugal is now considering legalization of cannabis. One of the leftist parties with seats in government is preparing legislation to do just that.

While passage of the legislation seems unlikely at this point, it appears that support for additional reform in Portgual may have been the result of its successful decriminalization of all drugs in 2001.

For Roque, Portugal’s experience with decriminalization was critical in laying the groundwork for the legalization bill. “Decriminalization helped us lose the taboos and break the fear of being persecuted for drugs, and Portugal nowadays is much more ready to move forward,” said Roque. [“Marijuana Legalization Legislation in the Works in Portugal” – Stop the Drug War]

There is a lot of debate about whether an incremental or all-or-nothing approach is best. I don’t think there is a direct answer and probably the best way to make progress is to have people advocating for a variety of policy choices along the regulatory spectrum. This article, which you should read in full, provides one view supporting the incrementalist approach.