Luxembourg becomes first EU member state to legalise cannabis

Luxembourg has become the first EU country to legalise the production and consumption of cannabis. Within the next two years, residents over the age of 18 will be able to buy the drug for recreational purposes, and a cannabis agency will regulate its production and distribution.

It’s expected that the draft legislation will be revealed later in the year. This will provide further details, including which types of cannabis will be available and how much it will be taxed.

It’s likely that non-residents will be banned from buying the drug. In addition, it’s predicted that home-growing the drug will be prohibited, and anyone found breaking the generous laws will be heavily penalised.

Residents under 18 but over the age of 12 won’t be criminalised for possessing less than 5 grams, although it’s expected that they will face a large fine.

In an interview with Politico, Etienne Schneider encouraged other EU member states to follow Luxembourg, as well as Canada, Uruguay, and part of the US in relaxing their laws on cannabis, aiming for legalisation in the future.

Cannabis was already legalised in Luxembourg for medicinal purposes. In addition, recreational use has been partly decriminalised when consumed in small amounts. However, purchasing, selling, and producing the drug is still illegal.

In 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalise marijuana, creating a national marketplace. Canada followed in 2018 and citizens are now able to order cannabis products in state run, regulated private retailers.

It’s now legal to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis, which will be the same in Luxembourg. Any tax revenues will go towards drug education programs and addiction treatment programs.

Schneider said: “This drug policy we had over the last 50 years did not work. Forbidding everything made it just more interesting to young people … I’m hoping all of us will get a more open-minded attitude toward drugs.”

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