Luxembourg is gearing up to become the first European country to completely legalize cannabis

EU officials have confirmed that possession of less than five grams by residents aged 18 will not be criminalized

Luxembourg is going down in history as the first country in the European Union to completely legalize cannabis. Residents of Luxembourg who are of legal age – 18 and above – will be able to purchase the plant within the next two years, says Health Minister Etienne Schneider.

“The drug legislation we have been applying for 50 years has not worked,” said Schneider. “Prohibiting products has made them more attractive to young people. I’m hoping all of us [in the EU] will take a more open-minded attitude toward drugs.

Although country officials are still in the process of drafting cannabis legalization in Luxembourg, it has been confirmed that a recently inaugurated regulatory commission will provide oversight for the cannabis that is produced and distributed throughout the European country.

Tourists shouldn’t get too excited, however. Non-residents won’t be allowed to legally consume cannabis in Luxembourg. Anyone caught breaking the law will be punished accordingly.

Luxembourg previously passed cannabis laws

Since the success of Canada’s legal cannabis market, which went into effect following the passing of the Cannabis Act (Bill C-45) back in October 2018, cannabis legalization has been a hot topic throughout Europe. Canada’s legal cannabis industry has experienced huge success since its launch late last year. During the month of May, Canadians spent an impressive $85 million on legal weed.

Over in Luxembourg, medical cannabis has been legalized since the summer of 2018. Although it remains illegal to cultivate, sell or produce the plant, recreational cannabis use has been decriminalized in small amounts. The European country hopes to capitalize on the rise of legal weed by adopting a similar approach to Canada. 

Luxembourg intends on permitting cannabis possession up to the amount of 30 grams; legislation is expected to be drawn up later in the year. Individuals who suffer from substance abuse will benefit from recovery treatments offered under Luxembourg’s legal cannabis program. The regulatory framework will detail the specific taxation levels for cannabis distributed countrywide, of which will be used to fund drug education programs. 

Although the fine details have not been confirmed yet, EU officials have confirmed that possession of less than five grams by residents aged 12-18 will not be criminalized. They will, however, be slapped with a hefty fine.

Schneider is encouraging other EU member states to follow suit

With Luxembourg’s legal cannabis market underway, neighboring countries are sure to feel the pressure to pass similar laws. Cannabis is still illegal at the international level in the European Union, but has been decriminalized in fewer than a dozen European countries. 

Nonetheless, the United Kingdom is warming up to the idea of legal weed, with medical cannabis being made available on prescription back in November. Germany is also getting involved; medical cannabis imports surged in the second quarter of 2019.

This doesn’t change the fact that cannabis use, sale, possession and cultivation is still punishable by law in liberal spots like Portugal and Spain, not to mention most of the European Union. In spite of the fact that Germany is capitalizing on the medical cannabis market, the European country does not have any plans to legalize the plant for recreational purposes. The same applies for Ireland, France and Switzerland, where lawmakers have made it clear that they do not plan on legalizing the plant on a recreational scale.

On the other hand, the European Parliament recently called for a policy to ensure adequate funding for scientific medical cannabis-focused research. This indicates that the recent election has led to a change in priorities for the EU. Plus, with Luxembourg legalizing cannabis completely, things are off to a good start.