Adults are allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants in their homes or gardens in Luxembourg, under laws that make it the first country in Europe to legalize the production and use of the drug.
The Luxembourg government’s announcement on Friday aims to fundamentally change the country’s approach to recreational use and cultivation of cannabis amid the failure of the ban to deter it.
According to the law, anyone aged 18 and over can legally grow up to four cannabis plants per household for personal use.
The trade in seeds is also allowed with no limit on the amount or content of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient.
The government said it was possible to buy seeds in stores, import them, or buy them online.
There is also intent to enable domestic production of seeds for commercial purposes, but plans for both a national production chain and government-regulated distribution have been delayed by the Covid pandemic.
As a first step, Attorney General Sam Tamson described the change in the law on domestic production and consumption.
“We thought we had to act, we have a problem with drugs and cannabis is the most widely used drug and a big part of the illegal market,” she said.
“We want to start with people being able to grow it at home. The idea is that when a user is using cannabis, they are not in an illegal situation and that we do not support the entire illegal chain from production to transport to sale where there is a lot of misery involved. We want to do everything we can to escape the illegal black market more and more. “
For home growers, the place where their four plants are grown is limited to their usual place of residence, indoors or outdoors, on the balcony, terrace or garden.
A legal ban on the consumption and transport of cannabis or cannabis products in public is upheld and the free or paid trade in cannabis or other cannabis products as seeds remains prohibited.
If the law is relaxed, however, the consumption and transport of an amount of up to 3 grams is no longer classified as a criminal offense, but as an administrative offense.
The fines would be reduced to just € 25 for owning less than 3 grams, from € 251 to € 2,500 today. “From three grams nothing changes, you are considered a dealer,” said Tamson. “Nothing will change for drivers either: There is still zero tolerance.”
Government sources said the legislation was driven by a desire to liberalize consumption and cultivation “within your own four walls”.
The move is the first step in a more fundamental re-regulation of the state’s handling of cannabis in order to keep users away from the illegal market.
To ensure product quality, a state-regulated production and sales system is planned, the proceeds of which are to be invested “primarily in prevention, education and health care in the broad field of addiction”, according to government circles.
The general framework for the revision of the law was agreed two years ago in a coalition agreement between liberals, social democrats and the Greens.
Luxembourg will join Canada, Uruguay and 11 US states in disregarding a UN Convention on the Control of Narcotic Drugs, which obliges signatories to “produce, manufacture, export, import, distribute, trade, Restrict employment and possession of “drugs” including cannabis.
Uruguay became the first country in the world to create a legal national marijuana marketplace by legalizing the drug in 2013, and Canada followed suit in 2018.
In the Netherlands, possibly the European country most associated with relaxed attitudes towards the use of cannabis, its recreational use, possession and trafficking are technically illegal. It has a “tolerance policy” or googled, under which the use of leisure time is widely accepted within limits.
Possession, cultivation, distribution, sale or cultivation of cannabis in the UK remains illegal. Those caught with the drug face a maximum of five years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both. Several police forces have announced that they will no longer target recreational users, and anyone weighing less than an ounce (28 grams) may receive a warning or an immediate fine.