Luxembourg to legalize recreational cannabis after a winning poll and the approval and recognition in 2017 of medical marijuana

Luxembourg makes the last adjustments for legalization

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Benito Díaz

Luxembourg is the last European country to jump on the train of legalization. Medicinal and recreational marijuana will be free in the Grand Duchy.

On December 5th, the new Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel, took office. Bettel is starting his second legislature, after a close victory of his coalition in the parliamentary elections held in October, and the Premier plans a series of measures that include changes in environmental legislation, increasing the funds for public services and legalizing recreational cannabis.

The tripartite agreement between Bettel's Democratic Party, the Socialist Workers' Party, and the Greens will produce “legislation over recreational cannabis for adult use”. However, the document does not give any indication as for when this will occur. “Luxembourg wants to decriminalize, even legalize – under certain conditions, yet to be defined – production in national territory, as well as purchase, possession or consumption of recreational cannabis for personal needs in adult residents”, the government asserts.

The revenue cannabis creates will be invested first and foremost in prevention, raising awareness and care in the vast field of addictions”, Bettel made clear after reaching a governance agreement for the 2018-2023 legislature. The intention behind these legislative innovations is to promote for the electorate a more benevolent way to look at the subject, as well as developing a new sensitivity towards the cannabis industry, making it more attractive and closer to society.

According to polls from May 2018, the majority of adult citizens, 56%, voted in favor of total legalization of marijuana. Another 41% were against it in the same poll. Amongst the citizens of the Duchy in favor of legalization, 18% want the absolute legalization, while a 38% would rather set some conditions.

 

PRECEDENTS

In April 2001, new laws modified the status of marijuana in Luxembourg. It went from a controlled substance type B to decriminalizing its possession by an adult. Nevertheless, the sanctions are linked to the amount of weed found, and the fines can vary from 250 to 2500 euros. Not bad, considering some time ago the sanction could leave you imprisoned.

Being such a small state, where most people travel every morning to go to work in a different country, it is no surprise that policies regarding marijuana in the sorrounding European countries have influenced the conditions under which the flowers bloom in the streets of Luxembourg. Most of the cannabis that can be found there comes from Maastricht and Amsterdam through smuggling.

<< Homegrowing is allowed in Luxembourg, as long as the varieties cultivated have less than a 0,3% THC concentration, a very low one >>

 

THERAPEUTICAL CANNABIS

During November 2017, the Department of Health approved a two year project that granted residents access to therapeutical cannabis, meaning only derivates from the plant. For instance, drugs rich in cannabinoids.

Regarded as too limited a change by some activists, medicinal cannabis use was passed for people ailed with chronic pain, Alzheimer's, chemotherapy-related nausea or muscular spasms caused by multiple sclerosis. At the same time, the efficacy of this therapy against the aforementioned illnesses is officially recognized, contributing to a growing list of European countries that have taken this step.

The first draft specified that only specialists in such illnesses could prescribe the drug. But later versions have evolved on this point and now allow family doctors to do so, provided they have received pertinent training.

Cannabis in form of oil or capsules has been imported from Canada into the country by the State. Only four hospital pharmacies can distribute it. This is the most controversial point for cannabis activism, since it could deny citizens from rural areas access to their medication.