Luxembourgish adults will be allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants in their home or garden under laws that will make it the first country in Europe to legalize the production and consumption of the drug.
The Luxembourg government’s announcement on Friday would make fundamental changes in the country’s approach to recreational cannabis use and cultivation, given the ban’s failure to deter consumption.
Under the law, people aged 18 and over will be legally able to grow up to four cannabis plants per household for their personal use.
Trade in the seeds will also be allowed without any limits on the amount or levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive constituent.
The government said it would be possible to buy seeds in stores, import them or buy them online.
There are also plans to allow domestic production of seeds for commercial purposes, but plans for a national production chain and state-regulated distribution have been delayed by the Covid pandemic.
For amateur growers, the place of cultivation of their four plants will be limited to the usual place of residence, indoors or outdoors, on a balcony, terrace or garden.
A legal ban on the consumption and transport of cannabis or cannabis products in public will be maintained and the trade in cannabis or cannabis products other than seeds, whether free of charge or against payment, remains prohibited.
Under a relaxation of the law, however, consuming and transporting an amount of up to 3 grams will no longer be considered a criminal offense, but classified as an offense.
Government sources said the legislation was motivated by a desire to liberalize consumption and culture “within its own four walls.”
The move is the first step in a more fundamental re-regulation of state management of cannabis, designed to keep users away from the illegal market.
A state-regulated production and distribution system is planned to ensure product quality, with sales revenues to be invested “primarily in prevention, education and health care in the broad field of drug addiction.” government sources said.
The general framework for the overhaul of the law was agreed two years ago in a coalition agreement between Liberals, Social Democrats and Greens.
Luxembourg will join Canada, Uruguay and 11 American states in flouting a United Nations convention on the control of narcotics, which commits signatories to limit “exclusively for medical and scientific purposes the production, manufacture, ‘export, distribution of imports, trade, employment and possession of drugs’, including cannabis.
Uruguay became the first country in the world to create a legal domestic market for marijuana when it legalized the drug in 2013, and Canada followed suit in 2018.
In the Netherlands, perhaps the European country most associated with a relaxed attitude towards cannabis use, its recreational use, possession and trade are technically illegal. It has a “policy of tolerance”, or tolerance policy, under which recreational use is widely accepted within certain limits.
Cannabis remains illegal to possess, cultivate, distribute, sell or cultivate in the UK. People caught with drugs face a maximum of five years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both. Several police forces have said they will no longer target recreational users and that those weighing less than an ounce (28 grams) may be cautioned or fined on the spot.