Luxembourg Becomes First in Europe to Legalize Growing and Using Cannabis

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Luxembourg’s government announce that adults will be permitted to grow up to four cannabis plants in their homes or gardens for personal use.

According to The Guardian, trade in seeds will also be permitted, with no limit on the levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the plant’s most psychoactive compound. Seeds may be bought in shops, imported or traded online. Plans to legalize domestic production of seeds for commercial purposes have been postponed by the Covid pandemic.

This marks a fundamental change in the country’s approach to recreational drugs, designed to keep users away from the illegal market. It also makes Luxembourg the first country in Europe to legalize production and consumption of the drug.

Justice minister Sam Tanson told The Guardian that the move to legalise domestic production and consumption stems from a desire to eliminate the misery caused by the large illicit market. By decriminalising cannabis consumption, Luxembourg is removing support for the illegal chain, from production to transportation and sale.

Home cultivation will be limited to the grower’s usual place of residence, indoors or outdoors, on a balcony, terrace or garden.

Consumption and transport of cannabis and cannabis products (other than seeds) in public remains prohibited. Similarly, bans on the trade of cannabis or cannabis products other than seeds will also be maintained.

However, the consumption and transport of quantities up to three grams will be classified as a misdemeanour, instead of a criminal offence. This means fines will be reduced to 25€, down from €2500 today.

Tanson emphasizes that possession of above 3 grams will still imply intent to sell. Luxembourg also upholds its zero-tolerance policy for car drivers.

The new legislation is a first step towards the re-regulation of cannabis in the state’s effort to quash the illegal market, fuelled by a desire to liberalise growing and using cannabis within the home.

Government sources said that the state’s aim is to devise a system of regulated production and distribution that ensures product quality, with revenues from sales to be used in “prevention, education and healthcare in the broad field of addiction.”

The framework of this legal development was agreed before the pandemic in a coalition agreement between the Social Democrats, the Liberals and the Greens.

Luxembourg will join Uruguay, Canada and 11 US states in defying the UN convention on the control of narcotic substances, which binds signatories to limit “exclusively for medical and scientific purposes the production, manufacture, export, import distribution, trade, employment and possession of drugs.”

Uruguay created the world’s first legal national marijuana marketplace upon legalisation in 2013, followed by Canada in 2018.

Despite the Netherlands’ reputation for a relaxed attitude towards cannabis use, possession, trade and recreational use remains illegal. However, there is a ‘tolerance policy’ under which adult use is accepted within reason.

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