A proposal for implementing Luxembourg’s plans to legalise cannabis for recreational was published at the end of last week. The recommendations allow for the possession of up to 3 grams of cannabis, the cultivation of up to 4 plants at home, and a retail market where residents would be allowed to buy a maximum of 5 grams a day, up to 30 grams a month.
One of the main recommendations in the plan, titled Pilot Project For Legal Access To Cannabis For Non-Medical Purposes is, “that access to cannabis for non-medical purposes should be regulated by a rigorous and robust pilot project tailored to meet Luxembourg’s specific needs.”
The framework was drafted after consultations with an interministerial working group, the final document was then sent for review by four international experts, Henri Bergeron, Rebecca Jesseman, Tomas Zabransky and Steve Rolles.
The first stage of the pilot project would be to amend current legislation to enact the proposals into law by amending the amended Act of 19 February 1973 on the sale of medicinal substances.
Once stage one is complete, stage two will focus on the recreational market, ensuring access is granted to only those that meet the criteria, such as being a resident of Luxembourg and over the age of 18.
Campaigners may be disappointed at the limits placed on how much cannabis a consumer may be able to buy or grow at home, or that access will only be for residents, but in a Tweet discussing the plans, Steve Rolles said this could be due to “the political realities of Luxembourg”:
The more restrictive proposals, I think, reflect the political realities of Luxembourg, a comparatively small country in population terms (660k), & landlocked btwn EU giants Germany & France. France, heavily prohibitionist leaning, doubtless putting political pressuring on Lux
— Steve Rolles (@SteveTransform) April 28, 2023
Outlining the motives behind the coalition government’s decision to investigate the relaxation of cannabis laws, the document says, “Luxembourg wishes to respond responsibly and realistically to the social phenomenon of large-scale cannabis use observed in the general population, despite a long-standing policy of imposing penalties and preventing addiction, by implementing a pilot project which, without normalising or trivialising this product and its use, targets public health and safety-related objectives. This political will is part of the government’s plan to find alternative ways to address societal problems or phenomena, as has been the case in other areas.”
Luxembourg became the first country in Europe to announce plans to allow an adult-use cannabis market as part of government policy. Written into the agreement finalising the formation of the then-new coalition government in 2018 was a provision to decriminalise or legalise cannabis.
The agreement said, “Legislation on recreational cannabis use will be drawn up. Its main goals will be to decriminalise, or even legalise, under conditions that are yet to be determined, production within the territory of Luxembourg, along with the purchase, possession and recreational use of cannabis for the personal needs of residents of legal age; to move users outside the black market; to resolutely reduce the related mental and physical hazards; and to combat criminality at the supply level.”
Since Luxembourg’s historic announcement in 2018, many other countries in Europe have made shifts in their cannabis policies, such as Malta which became the first country in Europe to allow access to recreational cannabis.
Other countries that are changing their stance on adult-use cannabis include Germany, Switzerland, Czechia, Netherlands, Spain and Portugal. The UK currently has no plans to legalise recreational cannabis, although medicinal cannabis has been legal if prescribed by a doctor since November 2018.