Luxembourg’s health minister has confirmed plans to legalize the use and production of cannabis. If this happens, it could very well be the first country in Europe to do so.
What’s more, Luxembourg is calling on its EU neighbors to relax their respective drug policies.
Health Minister Etienne Schneider said in an interview that the drug laws they have for over 50 years are not working. According to him, all the prohibition only made cannabis more interesting to young people.
Schneider is hoping that people would get a more open-minded attitude when it comes to cannabis.
If the plan to legalize the drug pushes through, residents who are over 18 years old are expected to be able to purchase cannabis for recreational use in two years time. The state will form a cannabis agency that will be responsible for regulating the production and distribution of the drug.
It is expected that a draft legislation will be released later this year. This draft will provide more details about the measure, including the types of cannabis that will be sold in the market, as well as information on taxation.
Schneider added that the proposed legislation would likely include a provision banning non-residents of the country from buying weed. The purpose of this possible ban is to discourage drug tourism.
Additionally, home-growing cannabis plants is also likely to be not allowed.
Other planned provisions
What’s more, minors who are 12 to 17 years old who are caught in possession of small quantities of cannabis would not be arrested and jailed. Small quantities mean five grams or less of weed.
However, those who break the more generous laws will have to face harsh penalties under the plan.
EU countries should follow
A government coalition agreement among the Social Democrats, the Greens, and the Liberals provides for cannabis legalization within five years.
If things go as planned, Luxembourg will join the ranks of Uruguay, Canada, and 11 states in the U.S. in defying a United Nations convention on narcotic drug control by completely legalizing the drug. This UN convention commits signatories to limit the production, manufacture, distribution, trade, and possession of drugs, including cannabis, exclusively for medical and scientific purposes only.
Schneider said he’d like for other countries in the EU to consider legalizing cannabis, too.
Medical cannabis in Luxembourg
The country has legalized the use of medical cannabis in June 2018. This was after the health minister announced in November 2017 a two-year pilot program wherein Luxembourgers would be able to access cannabis for medicinal purposes.
The drug was effectively decriminalized in April 2001 when it was reclassified as a Category B controlled substance. This reclassification meant that personal possession of the drug merits only a fine for a first offense.