Luxembourg’s Parliament has approved a bill to legalize marijuana possession and cultivation for adults.
About two years after the government first proposed ending cannabis prohibition, members of the Chamber of Deputies passed the non-commercial legalization bill in a 38-22 vote on Wednesday.
This makes Luxembourg the second country in the European Union to enact the reform, following Malta’s vote to legalize in 2021.
The law in Luxembourg, which was first proposed by the ministers of justice and homeland security in 2021, will allow adults to possess up to three grams of cannabis and grow up to four plants in a secure location within their private residence.
BREAKING: Luxemburg legaliseert cannabis als eerste in Benelux, tweede in Europese Unie
'Parlementsleden in Luxemburg hebben vandaag thuisteelt van vier cannabis planten per huishouden gelegaliseerd en bezit tot 3 gram op straat.'https://t.co/R4vop9S88r via @cannaindustrie
— VOC Nederland (@vocnederland) June 28, 2023
The approved legislation lays out penalties for possession and cultivation in excess of the allowable amount. Buying and possessing more than three grams of marijuana could be punishable by a prison sentence of up to six months—a steep penalty, especially considering the relatively low possession limit. Public consumption would also remain prohibited.
At the close of Wednesday’s debate, Minister of Justice Sam Tanson said that cannabis criminalization has been an “an absolute failure,” RTL Today reported. Therefore, he said, “we must dare to take another path” and “seek solutions.”
le tribunal administratif
👉loi portant sur l'organisation du service des huissiers de justice & sur la profession d'avocat
Plus de détails dans le communiqué ➡️https://t.co/5EZJzIrRSX
— Ministère de la Justice (@MinJus_Lu) June 28, 2023
The minister described the legislation in a notice about Wednesday’s votes, saying it is designed to take a “risk reduction and crime prevention approach” to marijuana, according to a translation.
“The cultivation, from seeds, of four cannabis plants per domestic community is authorized for adults. As a corollary, personal consumption in the private sphere is authorized. The place of cultivation must be either the domicile or the habitual residence and the plants must not be visible from the public road. At the same time, a simplified criminal procedure is introduced for certain behaviors which remain prohibited, namely the consumption, possession, transport and acquisition in public, for their sole personal use, of a maximum of three grams of cannabis by adult persons.”
Deputy Josée Lorsché of the Green Party said that the legislation is “not a question of trivializing or promoting cannabis.” Rather, “it is a question of combating drug-related crime and the sale of cannabis on the black market.”
Deputy Dan Biancalana of the LSAP added that prohibition “has not stopped people from using cannabis,” and it’s a “fact today that the purely repressive approach has remained a failure so far.”
This development has been a long time coming, as a coalition of major parties of Luxembourg agreed in 2018 to enact legislation allowing “the exemption from punishment or even legalization” of cannabis.
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Meanwhile, the government in neighboring Germany says that it remains committed to enacting legalization under a more tiered regulatory model.
Last month, German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach began circulating a draft bill to legalize marijuana possession, cultivation and social clubs—the first of a two-part reform framework—among government cabinet officials.
Top officials from Germany, Luxembourg, Malta and the Netherlands held a first-of-its-kind meeting last year to discuss plans and challenges associated with recreational cannabis legalization.
A novel international survey that was released last year found majority support for legalization in several key European countries, including Germany.