Luxembourg Cannabis Reform Bill Succeeds

Liz Filmer
29 Jun 2023

Luxembourg’s Parliament has just approved a bill to legalise cannabis cultivation and possession for adults.

Two years after the government first suggested ending cannabis prohibition, members of the Chamber of Deputies passed the legalisation bill on Wednesday in a 38-22 vote.

This makes Luxembourg the second country in the European Union to pass reform, following Malta’s vote in favour of legalisation in 2021.

The law in Luxembourg, first proposed in 2021, allows adults to lawfully possess up to three grams and grow up to four plants in a secure place within their home.

There will, however, still be penalties for possession and cultivation of cannabis that surpass the allowable amount. Buying and possessing more than three grams will be punishable by up to six months imprisonment. This is a relatively steep penalty, considering the moderately low possession limit. 

Public consumption will also remain prohibited. Following Wednesday’s debate, Minister of Justice Sam Tanson commented that cannabis criminalisation has been an “absolute failure, and we must dare to take another path and seek solutions.”

The minister explained the legislation in a statement about Wednesday’s votes, saying it is devised to take a “risk reduction and crime prevention approach” to cannabis.

Deputy Josée Lorsché of the Green Party added that the new ruling is not a matter of attempting to trivialise or promote cannabis. Instead, it is a way of combating drug-related crime and the power of the black market.

The fact is that Luxembourg has realised (as many countries are beginning to) that prohibition has done nothing to stop people from using cannabis. It seems to be a more resounding fact as time goes on that such a repressive strategy has amounted to ultimate failure.

This development is a welcome result for an initiative that has been a long time coming. It was back in 2018 when a coalition of political parties in Luxembourg agreed to enact legislation allowing for “the exemption from punishment or even legalisation” of cannabis.

Liz Filmer