Legalisation Takes Effect in Luxembourg

Stephen Andrews
24 Jul 2023

The new law that legalises the possession and personal cultivation of cannabis for adults in Luxembourg officially went into effect on Friday, July 21. The country’s Parliament approved a cannabis reform bill a month ago.

Last week, Luxembourg’s Ministry of Justice implemented a procedural step where it published a statement about the policy change in the Official Journal. The statement said that the new legislation, or Bill 8033, will go into effect in four days, making Luxembourg the second EU country to end cannabis prohibition. The first member state to do so was Malta in 2021.  

The Luxembourg law was first proposed by the ministers of justice and homeland security in 2021. The law allows adults to possess up to three grams of cannabis and grow up to four plants in a secure location at home.

Simultaneously, the Ministry of Health launched a website where it gives basic information on cannabis, and where it details the new rules on how cannabis will be regulated in the country. 

“Authorisation 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 website says. 

The site continues to say that, “By choosing to regulate the cultivation of cannabis at home, the Government intends to regulate its consumption and to reduce related risks and harms”. 

It adds: “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 website further clarifies that “seeds for self-cultivation are no longer considered narcotics and can therefore be purchased in shops or online”. 

In line with Bill 8033, there are penalties for the illegal use or possession of marijuana. Public consumption is not permitted, thus anyone who smokes cannabis or uses other cannabis products outside their home risks a fine of between €25 and €500. The same applies to anyone who possesses, transports, or acquires up to three grams of cannabis or other derivatives for personal use. 

The penalties are much harsher for anyone caught buying, possessing or transporting more than three grams of cannabis. For that, the law provides a prison sentence of between eight days and six months and a fine of between €251 and €2,500. It’s a steep sentence given the moderately low possession limit. 

Luxembourg’s cannabis reform was approved by 38 deputies who voted in favor, with 22 against the bill. 

A representative policy towards drugs is “an absolute failure”, said Minister of Justice, Sam Tanson at the end of last month’s debate. Because of that, “we must dare to take another path” and “seek solutions”. 

Her party colleague Josée Lorsché added: “It’s not a question of trivialising or promoting cannabis”, but with this bill “it is a question of combating drug-related crime and the sale of cannabis on the black market”. At the same time, she said, it’s a way to offer better quality products, as those sold on the illegal market are “more harmful to the health of users”. 

Stephen Andrews