“judged by virtually every metric, the Portuguese decriminalization framework has been a resounding success”
[Note: original link stale, re-posted with respect from Internet Archive for posterity]
Drug Decriminalization in Portugal:
Lessons for Creating Fair and Successful Drug Policies
by Glenn Greenwald
On July 1, 2001, a nationwide law in Portugal took effect that decriminalized all drugs, including cocaine and heroin. Under the new legal framework, all drugs were “decriminalized,” not “legalized.” Thus, drug possession for personal use and drug usage itself are still legally prohibited, but violations of those prohibitions are deemed to be exclusively administrative violations and are removed completely from the criminal realm. Drug trafficking continues to be prosecuted as a criminal offense.