A new law legalizing the possession and personal cultivation of marijuana for adults in Luxembourg officially took effect on Friday.
Earlier in the week, the Ministry of Justice had published a statement about the policy change in the Official Journal—a procedural step that meant the legislation would 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, allows adults to possess up to three grams of cannabis and grow up to four plants in a secure location within their private residence.
Haut trëtt dat neit Cannabis-Gesetz a Kraaft
D'Justizministesch @SamTanson erkläert wat ab elo erlaabt ass a wat weiderhin verbuede bleift 👇
— Ministère de la Justice (@MinJus_Lu) July 21, 2023
In conjunction with the law taking effect, the Ministry of Health launched a website to explain the country’s new cannabis rules and the reason for the change.
“Authorization of home cultivation and the reduction of penalties for small quantities of cannabis in public places represent the first stage in the implementation of the pilot project for legal access to cannabis for non-medical purposes,” the site says.
“By choosing to regulate the cultivation of cannabis at home, the Government intends to regulate its consumption and to reduce related risks and harm,” it notes. “The decision is part of a proactive and constructive public health approach stemming from a political will to establish a balance between prevention, risk reduction and combating criminality.”
The site includes basic info about marijuana, as well as providing an overview of home grow—including noting that “seeds for self-cultivation are no longer considered narcotics and can therefore be purchased in shops or online.”
The now-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 also remains 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, she 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.