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.

Did the FBI just get away with the BIGGEST armed robbery in US history?

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In 2021, an armed group broke into a U.S. Private Vaults store in Beverly Hills and stole $86 million worth of valuables — the largest armed robbery in U.S. history. That "armed group" was the FBI. Now, it appears that the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles "misled" the judge who signed the warrant for the seizure and still haven't returned the stolen goods to the 700 customers affected, according to newly disclosed court filings.

The details of the government’s alleged deception have come to light in a class-action lawsuit by U.S. Private Vaults customers who say the raid violated their rights, the Los Angeles Times reported. The FBI and U.S. attorney’s office denied misleading the judge, and a spokesperson claimed the warrants were lawfully executed.

On the radio program, Glenn Beck and producer Stu Burguiere reviewed some of the shocking story's details and discussed why incidents like this may become more common.

"None of the customers have been charged with any crimes. Not a single customer, out of the 700, not a single customer has been charged with a crime, but they can't get their stuff back," Glenn noted. "And this is going to happen more and more."

"It's incomprehensible that this stuff goes on in the United States of America," Stu said. "If you were to tell me this happened, you know, in Russia, I'd expect it. The fact that the United States government is claiming and just taking stuff from citizens all around the country with no crime, many times without even being charged, let alone ... conviction."

"Listen to this," Glenn continued. "The lawsuit also claims that some of the box holders who came forward to reclaim their seized property were then subjected to another investigation. If you went to the FBI and said, 'I want my stuff back,' the FBI examined their bank accounts, their DMV records, their tax return, and any criminal history checks."

However, box holders who decided to forfeit their property were also suspected of trying to "avoid becoming an FBI target," Glenn noted.

"So, you're guilty if you walk away and you're guilty if you ask," Stu added.

"This is America, gang," Glenn said. "It doesn't seem like it because it's not a constitutional America. But this is the America we now live in, and it is important that you wake up and stand up. ... God's people have got to start standing up, or we'll lose freedom. The world's freedom will be on our heads."

Watch the video clip below to hear more from Glenn. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.

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Glenn Beck: One TERRIFYING thing is clear no matter who caused the Nord Stream pipeline leaks

Photo by Danish Defence/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Evidence strongly suggests that the Nord Stream pipeline leaks were the result of sabotage, and U.S. and European officials have been working to discover who could be behind the explosions that damaged the natural gas pipelines running from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea.

Was it Russia? Ukraine? Germany? But no matter who carried this out, it has put the entire world in grave danger, because if this is indeed an attack, it means that non-military key infrastructure outside Ukraine is now on the "target menu," warned Glenn Beck on the radio program.

"It is so important for you to understand, this is now a non-military key infrastructure that has been destroyed," Glenn explained. "If Russia thinks we did it, they've already said, 'Nukes are now on the table.' That gives us a green light to use nukes," he added.

"This is non-military key infrastructure outside of the borders of Ukraine. To date, as far as we know, combat targets were either in Ukraine, or were military targets hit inside of Russia by Ukrainian Air Force or special forces. But the target menu now includes key civilian infrastructure: electricity, water utilities, energy production. That makes Russia more dangerous than ever. And that would be true no matter who carried out the attack," Glenn stated.

Now, the Russians are saying the Unted States did it, and the U.S. is saying it was Russia. But no matter who carried out the attack, "We are facing a Cuban Missile Crisis," said Glenn.

"This could end up being the biggest story of our lifetime and ... if it isn't played calmly by every side, this could be World War III," he continued. "Russia has already said that this gives them the right to use nuclear weapons as soon as they find out for sure who did it. That would be catastrophic, absolutely catastrophic."

Watch the video clip below to hear more from Glenn. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.

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The White House can try to spin inflation all day long (and it's trying very hard). But you feel the effects of President Joe Biden’s disastrous leadership every time you go to the grocery store or fill up your car. The American economy is on the brink of disaster after less than two years of a Democrat-controlled Congress and White House. And they’ve got plenty more destruction in the works.

The bottom line is they WANT you to get used to a lower living standard. So, what do you do? How do you prepare? What will food and fuel cost in the months ahead? What would the next Great Depression look like? How are you going to feel the effects of ESG and the Left’s war on oil?

On Wednesday night's "Glenn TV," Glenn Beck brings in a panel of economic experts to answer those questions. He’s joined by Carol Roth, former Wall Street investment banker and author of “The War on Small Business,” and Jim Iuorio, a small business owner, stockbroker, and managing director of TJM Institutional Services. While both forecast the worst-case scenario for average Americans, they also offer a glimmer of hope to get us out of this mess.

Watch the full episode below:


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The FBI recently sent more than a dozen armed agents to the home of well-known pro-life activist Mark Houck to arrest him for allegedly violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances or FACE Act. Now the father of seven faces up to 11 years in prison over claims that he blocked a man from entering an abortion clinic and shoved him when he wouldn't stop verbally harassing Mark's 12-year-old son. Now, if that doesn't sound insane enough, this all happened after local authorities dropped the case. So, what's the full story here?

Attorney Peter Breen joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Tuesday to tell the family's side of the story, including how the case was already "won" three years ago, and how, after receiving a target letter from the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Mark's legal team agreed to cooperate fully, only to hear nothing back until the day the FBI showed up on Mark's doorstep.

Breen also explained how the FBI has tried to downplay "abuse of power" claims, accusing Mark's wife of making "inaccurate claims" about the terrifying experience.

"Ryan-Marie, who is Mark's wife, she thought she saw 25 [FBI agents.] The FBI came back and said it wasn't 25, it was no more than 15 or 20 heavily armed federal agents. And she had called them a 'SWAT team' because she's a lay person. I don't know the difference between a SWAT team and a bunch of heavily armed, armored, and shield-bearing federal agents," Breen said.

According to Fox News, a senior FBI source said:

There may have been 15-20 agents at the scene, but denied 25 were there. The agents who came to the door had guns out and at the ready, according to this FBI source, but the guns were never pointed at Houck or his family and were lowered or holstered as soon as Houck was taken into custody. Houck was handcuffed with a belly chain.

"So, yeah, they had guns drawn and pointed at Mark in front of his wife and their children. And that whole show of force was done against a man who was not a drug lord, not a mafia boss, but instead, a law-abiding pillar of the community whose attorney said, 'we'll bring him in if you decide to charge, even though you have no case.'"

Breen went on to assert that he believes Congress "needs to" hold Attorney General Merrick Garland accountable for the arrest. "I can't imagine that those 20 federal agents were excited about being called out to a peaceful man's home, guns drawn," he said.

In the video clip below, Breen goes on the explain what he believes should happen next, and why Houck's arrest "should frighten all of us." Can't watch? Download the podcast here.

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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.