Portuguese American Journal

Opinion | Algarve is perfect for growing cannabis – Len Port

By Len Port

A Danish company has started producing large quantities of medical cannabis, in Algarve, on a farm in the municipality of Lagoa, where it is being grown within strict legal and security rules for medicinal cannabis. The company aims to export to several countries in Europe from the middle of this year.

Scientists say medicinal cannabis can alleviate symptoms such as the pain associated with cancer and multiple sclerosis, and the nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. It can also stimulate appetite and prevent weight loss in people with HIV/AIDS, help treat certain rare forms of epilepsy, and even improve anxiety, insomnia, and sleep quality.

The Lagoa farm is inside a security perimeter of 8.7 hectares that must fulfil mandatory security requirements including video vigilance, an anti-intrusion system, and access control. The transportation of cannabis must also be carried out according to a set of rules including fully informing the local authorities.

The sunny weather in the Algarve is perfect for growing cannabis. The sandy soil in the Lagoa farm is excellent because it allows good water drainage and a breathable environment for the roots of the plants.

Unfortunately, the growers are now facing a very concerning period due to water availability. However, cannabis is not as water demanding as many other plants. The producers have a water-saving policy with which they collect water from their drainage system, guide it into a pond, and then use mainly drip irrigation. They are investing in the improvement of the irrigation system to be able to manage it and control it carefully, to guarantee there’s no water wastage.

There are two medicinal cannabis farms in the eastern Algarve, but for Lagoa, it all started recently with a Danish mother company, Schroll Medical, a group owned by brothers dedicated to the production of ornamental plants in both Denmark and Portugal.

Sandra Sal, the company’s agronomist, explained that Schroll Flowers was mainly focused on hydrangeas. In 2018, after a friend with a serious health problem started to use CBD oil that improved her life quality in a way that allowed her to restart working, the brothers understood the positive influence medical cannabis could have in many patients’ lives. They came up with the idea of using their growing skill to produce medical cannabis and started taking all the necessary steps to start the project.

In 2018, the group acquired a company in Lagoa dedicated to organic herbs production. They called it Schroll Flavours and continued this activity, selling organic herbs to several countries in Europe. A year later, the group took the first steps of the cannabis project.

In 2023, after achieving the certificate that authorizes the cultivation of medical cannabis, and submitting the request for another certificate that provides the necessary permission to produce active pharmaceutical Ingredients Schroll Flavours left the production of organic herbs to concentrate 100% on cannabis production based on organic farming principles.

The plan is to have all-year-round production. However, because the intention is to produce in outdoor conditions and under organic farming principles, the growers will be more subject to the climate and environmental conditions than growers of other plants.

During 2024, it hopes to produce several tones of the plant with a medical quality that allows it to be released as a starting material for all relevant plant-based cannabinoid products.


Len Port, born in Northern Ireland, worked as a news reporter and correspondent, mainly in Hong Kong and South Africa, before moving to Portugal many years ago.


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