Luxembourg’s health minister announced that the country is set to legalize recreational cannabis, and has urged other members of the European Union (EU) to relax their drug laws.
“This drug policy we had over the last 50 years did not work,” said Health Minister Etienne Schneider. “Forbidding everything made it just more interesting to young people.”
The new laws would legalize the cannabis market from production to consumption, making it the first European country to relax its cannabis laws to that extent. The European Parliament has previously supported medical cannabis for its 28 member states. Draft legislation is expected to be done by the end of the year and it is being proposed residents over the age of 18 should be able to purchase legal cannabis by 2021.
Home cultivation will likely be prohibited, and Schneider also said he envisions prohibiting purchases by non-residents as a way to avoid drug tourism. Minors between the ages of 12 and 17 caught possessing five or less grams of cannabis will not be criminalized, but those who break the more generous laws will receive harsh penalties.
Currently, Luxembourg allows medical cannabis and decriminalized small amounts for recreational consumption, but buying, selling and growing cannabis still remain illegal. All three parties that make up the governing coalition in Luxembourg have included legalizing recreational cannabis in their governing agenda. Many believe Luxembourg’s decision to legalize cannabis will cause other EU countries to debate the issue more seriously. However, neighboring countries are concerned with the possibility of cannabis products crossing borders into their own countries.
“The social pressure will be so high that if you have legalization in one of the EU member states, soon that will be discussed seriously in the other ones,” said Malte Goetz, a lawyer specializing in the medical cannabis market in Germany.