Luxembourg’s health minister has confirmed that the country plans to legalize recreational marijuana and he has urged other European Union (EU) member states to relax their own marijuana laws. If the country ends prohibition, it will be the first European country to take this bold step in defiance of UN conventions on the matter.
Etienne Schneider, Luxembourg’s health minister, said that the current drug policy which has been in existence in the country for the past 50 years hasn’t had the desired effect because prohibition only served to make marijuana more appealing to the youth. He added that he hoped that the citizens of Luxembourg would all become more open-minded towards drugs.
According to the legalization plan, residents who are at least 18-years old would be able to buy, possess and use marijuana in Luxembourg two years from now. The state plans to create an agency through which the production and distribution of marijuana will be regulated.
The draft law through which this legalization will be implemented is expected to be unveiled later this year. The health minister revealed that the draft law is likely to include provisions banning visitors from buying marijuana during their stay in Luxembourg. Schneider says this provision is necessary in order to prevent the country from becoming a destination for “drug tourists.”
The legalization law is also likely to ban the home cultivation of marijuana while also decriminalizing the possession of less than 28grams of the drug by minors between 12 and 17 years of age. However, minors who contravene this rather liberal provision will face stiff penalties.
Luxembourg’s health minister also said that he was keen to convince other countries in the EU to follow Luxembourg’s lead and reform their own marijuana laws.
According to additional information provided by Schneider, there is likely to be limited resistance to the plan to legalize marijuana in Luxembourg because a coalition of the Liberals, the Greens and the Social Democrats agreed to this plan. Last year, Felix Braz (the justice minister) and Schneider flew to Canada to see how one of the largest Canadian pot companies was producing marijuana for the recreational market.
Medical marijuana is already legal in Luxembourg and the possession of limited amounts of marijuana was decriminalized. Full legalization therefore seems to be the next logical step for this EU country.
It is unclear how other EU countries will respond to the legalization of cannabis in Luxembourg. The Netherlands is currently the only country in the EU which tolerates recreational marijuana since the drug is neither illegal nor legal. Coffee shops openly sell marijuana even if the cultivation and processing of the substance remains illegal in the country.