The government of Luxembourg has announced on Friday that it will finally allow 620,000 citizens of the country to grow, possess and consume cannabis legally.
The European country has been negotiating the route to adult cannabis use for some time as part of a coalition deal struck between the Liberals, Social-Democrats and the Greens in 2018. The announcement ends speculation that the process may have been derailed due to the Covid crisis and makes Luxembourg the first country in Europe to legalise the production and recreational use of cannabis.
Under the new legislation, people aged 18 and over will be able to legally grow up to four cannabis plants per household for personal use. It will be possible to buy seeds in shops, import them from abroad, or buy them online. A ban on the consumption and transport of cannabis in public will stay in place, as will the ban on trade in cannabis products other than seeds. Plans for both a national production chain and state-regulated distribution have been delayed by the Covid pandemic.
In a report in The Guardian, Justice minister Sam Tamson described the change to the law on domestic production and consumption as a first step. “We thought we had to act, we have an issue with drugs and cannabis is the drug that is most used and is a large part of the illegal market,” she said.
“We want to start by allowing people to grow it at home. The idea is that a consumer is not in an illegal situation if he consumes cannabis and that we don’t support the whole illegal chain from production to transportation to selling where there is a lot of misery attached. We want to do everything we can to get more and more away from the illegal black market.”
The consumption and transport of a quantity of up to three grams will be reclassified as a misdemeanour, downgraded from a criminal offence. It is expected that tourists and visitors will not be permitted to consume cannabis legally, as the country wants to avoid becoming a destination for consumers looking for easy access as seen in Amsterdam.
The main goal of the government at this point is to regulate cannabis use and growing “within your own walls,” the co-president of Luxembourg’s Greens, Meris Sehovic, told EURACTIV.
The announcement follows news earlier this week that Switzerland is to move ahead with legalising cannabis use and cultivation. Luxembourg joins Canada, Uruguay and 11 states in the US that have already legalised cannabis for adult use. It’s believed that Germany will follow suit after recent elections saw a number of parties set to form a coalition, in which legalising cannabis was a common agreement.