A new law legalizing the possession and personal cultivation of marijuana for adults in Luxembourg officially takes effect on Friday, the government has announced.
The Ministry of Justice published a statement about the forthcoming policy change in the Official Journal on Tuesday—a procedural step that means the legislation will come into force in four days.
This comes about a month after Luxembourg’s Parliament passed a legalization bill, making it the second country in the European Union to end cannabis prohibition 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.
Here’s the full statement from the Ministry of Justice:
“On July 17, 2023, the law of July 10, 2023 amending the amended law of February 19, 1973 concerning the sale of medicinal substances and the fight against drug addiction, providing for the legalization of the domestic cultivation of cannabis under certain conditions, has been published in the Official Journal. It will enter into force on the fourth day following the day of its publication, i.e. Friday, July 21, 2023.”
The soon-to-be-implemented 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 will also remain prohibited.
At the close of last month’s debate, Minister of Justice Sam Tanson said that cannabis criminalization has been an “an absolute failure.” Therefore, he said, “we must dare to take another path” and “seek solutions.”
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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.
Meanwhile, the government in neighboring Germany says that it remains committed to enacting legalization under a more tiered regulatory model.
Earlier this month, the German Ministry of Health Health unveiled a draft bill to legalize marijuana possession, cultivation and social clubs—the first step in a planned two-part reform framework.
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.
Photo courtesy of Max Pixel.