What Happened When Portugal Decriminalized Drugs?

Following a bloodless coup in the 1970s, Portugal saw an influx of drugs come into the country, resulting in one percent of the population being addicted to heroin. Fourteen years ago, the country took a somewhat unprecedented approach to solving its significant problem: decriminalizing all drugs.

"If you were found in possession of less than a 10-day supply of anything --- from marijuana to heroin --- you would be sent to a three-person commission to talk about drug addiction. It was a lawyer, a doctor and a social worker, and the commission would recommend treatment or a minor fine, otherwise you were sent off without penalty," Glenn said Wednesday on radio.

Addicts, rather than being imprisoned, received treatment.

While the problem became worse at first, the long-term results have been somewhat impressive. Both the use of drugs and drug-induced deaths have dropped significantly.

"It's actually working in Portugal. It's the Libertarian dream," Glenn said.

Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:

GLENN: You know the story of Portugal. Portugal had a really bad authoritarian regime back in the '70s. There was a bloodless coup. I think it was the Carnation Rebellion or something like that. Bloodless coup takeover. It went unstable for a while.

And drugs -- because they had -- Portugal had let go of all of their colonies, all of the soldiers come back -- and they being -- bring all kinds of drugs with them.

And so this liberalization of -- of -- or democratization of their country and the influx of all these guys coming in from all over the world with all these drugs, one percent of the Portuguese population was addicted to heroine. One percent.

Remarkable.

STU: Wow.

GLENN: Yeah.

PAT: Wow.

GLENN: So they did what we do. And they did a War on Drugs. And it got worse. And so they made it even stronger. And another War on Drugs. And it got worse.

And so in -- I think it was 2001, they started something -- yeah, 2001, they started -- they decided, let's go the entirely opposite way. Let's decriminalize all drugs.

PAT: Uh-huh.

GLENN: So if you were found in possession of less than a ten-day supply of anything from marijuana to heroine, you would be sent to a three-person commission to talk about drug addiction. It was a lawyer, a doctor, and a social worker, and the commission would recommend treatment or a minor fine, otherwise you were sent off without penalty.

Vast majority of time, no penalty. You just go in front of these guys, and they were like, what were you doing? I don't know. I just had some drugs. My friends and I were going to party.

Okay. Go ahead.

If you're addicted to heroine, you get treatment. If you're addicted, you get treatment.

You know, if you're a criminal, then, you know, you might receive a penalty.

So what has -- what has happened? At first, things got worse. For the first year, everybody was like, "Heroine, I can buy it over-the-counter. I'm going to buy heroine." At first it got worse.

JEFFY: Which you would expect.

PAT: So they literally legalized --

GLENN: Everything.

STU: Well, they decriminalized it.

PAT: They decriminalized.

GLENN: They decriminalized.

So was it available without a prescription?

GLENN: No.

PAT: No.

GLENN: Yes. Well, you would just buy it, but it wasn't illegal to go to a drug dealer and buy it.

STU: Well, I mean, I think the way that works, you can't go buy it at stores. You can't go to like the heroine store. But if you get caught with it, they don't put you in prison.

GLENN: Correct.

PAT: Okay. That's decriminalization.

GLENN: It's still black market.

PAT: That's not legalizing. It's just saying, we find you with it, we're not going to put you in jail for it.

GLENN: Correct. So here is -- if you look at the charts -- I don't even know, how would you describe this chart, boy? This is the use of drugs, and these are the drug-induced deaths.

STU: Both dropped.

GLENN: Significantly.

STU: Yeah, particularly the deaths dropped significantly.

GLENN: It's actually working in Portugal. It's the Libertarian dream. It is stop spending all the money and spending the money on the war. Spending the money on prison. Spending the -- the time and energy, trying to stop the criminals across the border, which we are just making into billionaires. Stop it.

Do what we did with prohibition. Reverse it. And all of those problems go away. And let people handle it themselves with some government intervention, where if you're really seriously addicted, then we give you treatment.

He talked about treatment last night.

STU: Yeah, and it does seem like -- because there's been some reporting on the fact that they might go and start -- you know, implementing and following through with the federal laws on marijuana again. Because obviously a lot of states have decided on their own that they're no longer going to worry about marijuana.

PAT: And there's going to be more and more.

STU: And there's going to be more and more.

PAT: It's going to spread.

STU: Yes. However, it's still federally illegal. So if you're in Colorado and you have some, well, you might be okay with Colorado law, but you're not okay with federal law. And so they could still theoretically go and try to enforce that.

GLENN: Federal law -- federal law trumps --

PAT: Yes. As the supremacy clause notes, federal law does -- it doesn't -- they don't call it, it trumps the state law, but it supersedes. And they don't even say it supersedes, but it does. I mean, it just does.

STU: It does.

GLENN: Federal law is the law of the land.

PAT: Yes.

STU: So the current way -- with Obama, he basically -- and he didn't entirely ignore it. There were still some -- still some issues with that, that Libertarians complained about loudly. But overall, he basically said, well, if you're going to have it illegal there, we're not doing federal raids for marijuana.

GLENN: You can't -- we have to -- we have to justify our laws. We have to justify -- we have to decide. If the states are going that way, well, then -- I mean, you want to talk about states' rights. Nobody seems to have a problem with the states' rights there.

Then fine.

But you cannot have the federal law and the state law in conflict. You want to talk about a constitutional crisis -- everybody in the press was talking about a constitutional crisis. The first day that Donald Trump come in --

STU: He said something bad about. The media. Constitutional crisis! No, that's not a constitutional crisis.

GLENN: No, that's not a constitutional crisis. This is. This is a constitutional crisis.

PAT: Yeah, it is. When you have states and any municipality ignoring federal law with immigration, ignoring federal law with drug laws, you're going to have chaos.

GLENN: Right. So you have to -- the federal government has to decide: Are we going to hold these cities accountable for disagreeing, or are we going to change the federal law?

STU: Right. I mean, there's also, you know, Supreme Court element and other things that can happen before constitutional crisis. But, I mean, there is that -- it's a bizarre standard. And it's happening the same thing -- sanctuary cities are another example of it.

PAT: Yep.

STU: It's really the same premise.

Conservatives are between a rock and a hard place with Section 230 and Big Tech censorship. We don't want more government regulation, but have we moved beyond the ability of Section 230 reforms to rein in Big Tech's rising power?

Rachel Bovard, Conservative Partnership Institute's senior director of policy, joined the Glenn Beck radio program to give her thoughts and propose a possibly bipartisan alternative: enforcing our existing antitrust laws.

Watch the video below:

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Dan Bongino, host of The Dan Bongino Show, is an investor in Parler — the social media platform that actually believes in free speech. Parler was attacked by Big Tech — namely Amazon, Apple, and Google — earlier this week, but Bongino says the company isn't giving up without a fight. In fact, he says, he's willing to go bankrupt over this one.

Dan joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to detail what he calls a "smear" campaign behind the scenes, and how he believes we can move forward from Big Tech's control.

"You have no idea how bad this was behind the scenes," Dan told Glenn. "I know you're probably thinking ... well, how much worse can the attack on Parler have gotten than three trillion-dollar companies — Amazon, Apple, and Google — all seemingly coordinated to remove your business from the face of the Earth? Well, behind the scenes, it's even worse. I mean, there are smear campaigns, pressure campaigns ... lawyers, bankers, everyone, to get this company ... wiped from the face of the earth. It's incredible."

Dan emphasized that he would not give up without a fight, because what's he's really fighting for is the right to free speech for all Americans, regardless of their political opinions, without fear of being banned, blacklisted, or losing jobs and businesses.

"I will go bankrupt. I will go absolutely destitute before I let this go," he said. "I have had some very scary moments in my life and they put horse blinders on me. I know what matters now. It's not money. It's not houses. It's none of that crap. It's this: the ability to exist in a free country, where you can express your ideas freely."

Watch the video below to hear more from Dan:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Joe Biden's administration is getting ready for something historic, but we're all being distracted. And now that Biden has hired at least 14 former or current executives from Big Tech — experts at colluding to censor unflattering news about Biden — Americans must be laser-focused on what's coming.

On January 20, the most corrupt president in American history will be inaugurated, and it looks like some of his cabinet choices were picked specifically so everything just – poof – goes away. The administration nominees appear to be all about preserving corruption, crony capitalism, and executing a Great Reset. Those same people also have one more thing in common: Ukraine.

On his Wednesday night special this week, Glenn exposes their radical agenda in their own words and gives U.S. senators the questions they must ask before confirming corrupt nominees to some of the highest offices in the country.


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I want to talk to you about something that probably didn't make a lot of sense a long time ago. In fact, I can't tell you how many program directors and how many stations threatened to cancel. Or how many calls I got from the average listener saying; What the hell are you even talking about when I talked about, the leadership of Martin Luther King.

I have done everything I can — as much as I possibly can — to teach you about Martin Luther King and nonviolent protests. And I don't think there's anybody in the media who has talked about nonviolence longer and more in-depth on commercial airwaves than me. Preachers, certainly. But commercial airwaves — I don't think anybody has.

Now I think many are beginning to understand why I tried to lay that foundation. I have told you since September 11th that I have this feeling you are going to be the group of people that will, in the end, save the republic.

I've always believed that. I don't know how it's saved. It might just be preserved in our hearts, I don't know. But I believe it now.

I never wanted us to get to this point — everything I've done is to prevent us from getting here. But everybody is so politically tied to their side that no one will let their shields down and actually listen to one another.

And we're at that desperate point now.

You are equipped to save the republic because you at least hopefully have a fundamental understanding of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. And you have at least a basic understanding of American history. More importantly, what makes this audience so phenomenal is that it is the most generous and service-minded audience of any show in America and perhaps the world.

That's part of what continues to be so frustrating about the Capitol invasion last week. Because you're being maligned.

You.

I know who you are. This is the most peaceful, generous, loving, God-fearing, authentic and patriotic audience in America. And you are frustrated and you are tired of being hit in the face and being called bigot and everything else no matter what you do.

I've been called an anti-Semite just in the last 24 hours by everybody, unjustly.

I get it.

You are now being tainted by the actions of complete imbeciles who do not represent you and me. It's not fair. But that's the hand that we're being dealt and God is in charge and He is not surprised.

We know the left's current tactics fail in the long run. Silencing. Canceling. Taking away rights.

We know the left's current tactics fail in the long run. Silencing. Canceling. Taking away rights. These are the hallmarks of regime, after regime, after Marxist regime on the ash heaps of history. Now China is still there because they've taken the so-called free market and took the capitalist system and they combined it with their Marxist utopia.

I don't know what's going to happen to the people over there. Especially seeing that our high-tech has joined them to weed out the dissidents. But it's not inevitable that we join them.

And it is going to require us to take a stand. Just not in the way that most people — especially if they're angry — think is most effective. Look at the ratings of BLM. 78 percent of Americans, at the beginning of the summer, thought that they were swell.

That number is in the low 20s now. Why? Because violence doesn't work.

I don't know if you saw the fellowship of the ring, but if you did, do you remember when Frodo said: "I don't want to do this!"

He's lamenting having to face down the evil and he's just one guy. I'll never forget it because it was right after 9/11, that the movie came out. I'll never forget Gandalf's reply. He said: "So do we all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what we're going to do with the time that is given us."

We can't decide what others are going to do. We can't control the dangerous Orwellian darkness that seems to be descending on America. All we can control is our response and strive to lead by example. If you know anyone in your sphere of influence who might be planning to attend one of these armed rallies in the coming days, beg them not to go. Do everything you can to stop them.

That's not a way to take a stand and it will not protect anything you hold dear and it will endanger the republic. It is what the other side wants.

So how do we take a stand?

The first thing I need you to do today is to help lower the temperature. It has been so hard for me not to respond to people on Twitter who have called me every name under the sun because I quoted the leading Holocaust historian last night on Tucker Carlson.

But see, that wasn't an attack on me, that was an attack on Tucker. If you can scare the guests from coming on to Tucker, you destroy Tucker. That's what they're doing.

Do not vent your anger on social media. At this point, it is probably just going to get your account shut down.

I want you to write this down and I want you to keep this in front of you.

Blessed are the peacemakers. For they will be called the children of God.

That means something today, much more than it did six months ago.

Blessed be the peacemakers.

Be a peacemaker.

And this is the hard part, you can't disconnect. Because things are moving too rapidly. You must stay plugged in.

But I want you to reach out to someone in kindness on social media. Encourage someone. Do not engage with the darkness. Be the light in the corner of your world.

You need to be a leader for what is to come.

And I know I'm asking you almost the impossible. I know you're angry and frustrated and it is gut-wrenching to feel that you're powerless to stop your nation from what you believe is sliding into the abyss.

You are not powerless. You are not voiceless.

I believe it too, with everything in me. I wish I was wrong. I hope that I am. I pray that I am. But know this: You are not powerless. You are not voiceless. You may be the only voice that anyone hears. Voices like mine will go away. I am trying to think of what I need to share with you before, God forbid, that ever happens. Because I cannot live with myself if I talked about something stupid politically and I find my voice silenced and then saying, I wish I would have said this or I wish I would have told them that.

You wield more power than you know. Not because of your voice or being able to call your congressman. You're more powerful than you know because you understand the real problem in America. The real problem in America is not political.

It is spiritual.

If you're like me when you get angry, you think that you are going to take on this challenge on your own — you are not being humble. You think you'll fix it. Everything that is happening to us is because we are an arrogant, out of control people.

We must humble ourselves. Please, you have the skill and the strength to endure the fiery darts that are going to come your way or already are. But this is a problem with our hearts.

You cannot reach someone's head without capturing their heart and no one is going to capture anyone's heart through violence.

Start in your own home and then reach out and if you're able, serve your neighbor. If you can, serve your local community. You must be a beacon of light in a very dark place. I'm going to ask you to do something you're really not going to like. And that's how I know things are from God. When I hear something or I think something and I'm like — oh crap, I don't want to do that — and you just know it it's right. You just know it's what God wants. And you're hoping that maybe you didn't hear it.

And it's so horrible. Because it's the last thing you want to do. But God is unlike many of our churches and preachers, He doesn't tell us what we want to hear. He doesn't have to pay for the church or get collection. Or be judged by how many people go.

Rise above the fray, with service and love, with malice toward none and charity toward all.

He'll say the same thing and he'll lose whole flocks. And they'll eventually start to go — oh wait, where is the Shepherd again?

But I have to tell you now some things that I want you to do. And they're not new. But I need you to hear me. I am asking you if you want to stand for the republic, I need you first to pray.

Pray like you've never prayed before. Pray for humility. Pray for guidance. Pray for peace. Pray for those people who you think you hate. Because you don't. Because hatred does not come from any good place.

Then I want you go out and serve someone in any way possible. On inauguration day especially, get your family and your children involved. Volunteer somewhere, take someone a meal. Do something to lift the spirits of hospital workers or your local police department.

Help a stranger mow a lawn, fix someone's car, pick up trash on the side of the highway. Do what you can do. But the most important thing is to do it with a sincere heart. And if someone asks you, why are you doing this? Just say, because I love my country.

Rise above the fray with service and love, with malice toward none and charity toward all.

Watch how the conversation went on radio HERE:

A pre-Inauguration Day plea: You wield MUCH more power than you know youtu.be