Luxembourg Lawmakers Agree on Reform

Stephen Andrews
03 Jul 2023

The next country to introduce cannabis reform in Europe? Luxembourg. Luxembourgers will soon be able to cultivate up to four plants at home for personal use. The government also plans to instate controlled production chains and controlled sales of cannabis products for recreational use.

The Luxembourg parliament reached an agreement on cannabis reform. The country's lawmakers did not settle for a full-scale plan for legalization as initially proposed. Still, the bill foresees legal home cultivation of plants for personal use and also launching a state-controlled cannabis market. 

The Luxembourg government first suggested ending cannabis prohibition two years ago. On Wednesday, June 28, members of the Chamber of Deputies passed a legalization bill with a 38-22 vote. With that, Luxembourg became the second country within the European Union to pass reform. The first country to do so was Malta in 2021. 

Justice Minister Sam Tanson said that drug enforcement over the past 50 years has been an "absolute failure." Although marijuana was banned, it was widely used. "We must dare to take another path and seek solutions," the minister said. 

Tanson explained the legislation in a statement about Wednesday's votes, saying it is crafted to take a "risk reduction and crime prevention approach" to cannabis. 

Under the reform, cannabis use and possession in public remain prohibited. Carrying a small amount of weed, as little as 3 grams, can result in a fine of 25-500 euros (27-545 US dollars). Those caught with more significant amounts risk a fine of 2,500 euros ($2,728) and the possibility of jail time. 

The government hopes that the new rules will not only curb drug trafficking, but it will also protect Luxembourgers from contaminated weed. Opponents say the illegal trade will continue and that reform will not limit consumption. 

Deputy Josée Lorsché of the Green Party added that the cannabis reform should not be seen as an attempt to trivialize or promote cannabis. Instead, as a way of fighting drug crimes and subduing the reach of the black market. 

The fact is that Luxembourg has realized (as are a growing number of countries around the world) that prohibition has done little to stop people from using marijuana. Now it's more evident than ever that repressive approaches always result in failures. 

Introducing cannabis reform in Luxembourg has been long time in the making. The Green Party has had legalization on its agenda for at least since 2018. 

A few more European countries are on the same path, including Germany, the largest EU market. Legalization in Germany will probably be mirrored in neighboring Czechia, hinting at a possible domino effect. Thumbs up, Europe!

Stephen Andrews