Tag: luxembourg

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Legalization Delays Are Causing Confusion In Luxembourg

At one point in time, towards the end of the last decade, Luxembourg seemed to be a sure bet to become the first country in Europe to pass a national adult-use cannabis legalization measure. After all, a coalition agreement included the reform.

Unfortunately, time has proven that agreement’s legalization provision to be essentially worthless, as it’s now the year 2023 and Luxembourg doesn’t appear to be trending towards legalization any time soon. While other countries on the continent are moving in the right direction, particularly Germany, Luxembourg’s reform efforts seem to be frozen in time.

Being that the government previously touted its legalization plans to such a significant degree, delays in legalization actually happening is resulting in confusion among the nation’s citizens, and recently the nation’s Minister of Health expressed doubts that legalization would happen at all under the current legislature. Per L’Essentiel (translated to English):

On Tuesday, the Minister of Health, Paulette Lenert, admitted that everything may not be voted on under this legislature . Three stages are planned: personal cultivation (four plants authorized), professional production and finally sale of recreational cannabis. “For now, I see this legislation as a total failure. It’s legal, no it’s not… People are all confused,” says Flo, who points out that four plants, depending on the THC level (with psychoactive effects) or the size of the pot used, “that means everything and nothing”.

That is far from an encouraging tone from Luxembourg’s Health Minister. There appears to be no timetable for consideration for any of the three stages mentioned, let alone implementation. Meanwhile, Luxembourg’s neighbor Germany is expected to see a legalization measure formally introduced this year, with sales possibly beginning in 2024.

Malta has already passed an adult-use legalization measure, and applications for non-profit cannabis clubs are expected to start rolling in next month. As legalization continues to spread across the continent, the pressure will continue to build around Luxembourg’s lawmakers, and it’s a safe assumption that their continued foot-dragging will becoming increasingly scrutinized by the citizenry.


cannabis flower buds

Is Luxembourg Abandoning Its Previous Legalization Plans?

Luxembourg was once thought to have the best chance of passing Europe’s first nationwide adult-use cannabis legalization measure. Of course, that ‘historic first’ never materialized in Luxembourg and the actual first country to pass such a measure was eventually Malta, which did so near the end of 2021.

Even though Luxembourg failed to become the first to pass a legalization measure, there was still quite a bit of hope that legalization would still become a reality in the European nation in the near future. Unfortunately, the chances of legalization happening any time soon in Luxembourg seem to be getting worse with every passing month.

Earlier this month we reported on grievances aired by the general prosecutors office, which cited concerns about ‘contradictions, unequal treatment, lack of clarity, oversights, serious error of logic or even the door wide open to abuse.’

While it is not shocking to see political delay tactics and reefer madness rhetoric being incorporated by cannabis opponents, it is disheartening to a degree to see supporters of cannabis reform changing their tones and the type of wording they use to describe the current effort in Luxembourg. Per RTL Today (translated to English):

Minister of Justice Sam Tanson once again defended the government’s decision to regulate recreational cannabis consumption, pointing out that this was already included in the governing coalition’s programme before the last national elections in 2018.

The initial plan of the coalition between the Democratic Party (DP), the Luxembourg Socialist Workers’ Party (LSAP), and the Green Party (déi Gréng) was to legalise cannabis.

However, Tanson explained that because the government does not want to allow cannabis consumption in public spaces, they now prefer to talk about “regulation” rather than “legalisation.” In addition, cannabis will be “decriminalised,” as residents will be permitted to carry up to 3 grammes of marijuana.

In addition to permitting possession of up to 3 grams, the current proposal being circulated in Luxembourg’s political circles would also permit the cultivation of up to four plants. For contextual purposes, Germany is considering legalizing possession of up to 30 grams of cannabis and the cultivation of up to three plants, and Malta currently permits the possession of up to 7 grams of cannabis and four plants.


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Will Luxembourg Ever Pass A Legalization Measure?

Back in 2018 the potential for legalization to occur in Luxembourg seemed fairly strong, with the coalition government including cannabis legalization in its coalition agreement that year. At the time, no European country had ever passed a nationwide adult-use cannabis legalization measure. Luxembourg seemed poised to make history.

Of course, multiple years have gone by and yet cannabis prohibition remains the law of the land in Luxembourg. If/when Luxembourg ever passes an adult-use legalization measure, it will no longer be the first to do so on the continent, as that ship already sailed in Malta late last year when lawmakers passed a limited legalization measure that permits home cultivation, and eventually, private non-profit cannabis clubs.

Not only has Luxembourg failed to pass a legalization measure, what was originally proposed in the coalition agreement has since been watered down quite a bit, with the latest version of legalization floating around Luxembourg political circles only involving home cultivation and use, which is obviously more akin to Malta’s legalization model versus something like Canada’s or what is currently being proposed in Germany.

And yet, even that limited legalization model seems to be facing uncertainty at the moment. Per excerpts from Le Quotidien (translated to English):

The judicial authorities are calling for a “thorough review” of the bill which aims to legalize the cultivation and consumption of cannabis at home. From beginning to end, shortcomings are detected.

The list of “difficulties and incongruities” highlighted in particular by the general prosecutor’s office is long: contradictions, unequal treatment, lack of clarity, oversights, serious error of logic or even the door wide open to abuse.

In short, the Minister of Justice, Sam Tanson, is sent back to his studies. The first Advocate General, Serge Wagner, is the most severe. He calls for a “thorough review” of the text, which is not ready to be put to the vote of the deputies anytime soon.

As I previously touched on, Malta has already passed a legalization measure that is somewhat similar to what is being floated in Luxembourg, with adult households being able to legally cultivate up to four plants. If Malta can make it work, why can’t Luxembourg?

As with every country in Europe that is holding cannabis reform discussions, they are not doing so in a vacuum. Germany is pursuing a legalization plan that is exponentially more robust compared to what is currently being floated in Luxembourg, and the two countries obviously share a border.

The opposition arguments being made in Luxembourg are already flimsy to say the least, and after legalization moves forward in neighboring Germany, those arguments will become even less tenable.



Luxembourg Invites EU Nations To Cannabis Legalization Meeting

For a brief time, it was expected that Luxembourg would become the first country in Europe to pass a national adult-use legalization measure. As we now know, that title actually went to Malta, which passed such a measure late last year.

The push for legalization continues in Luxembourg, with details recently surfacing regarding what the country’s legalization model will entail. It appears that Luxembourg’s model will largely revolve around home cultivation, and possession will be mostly treated in a decriminalized fashion.

Households will be able to cultivate up to 4 plants, however, all of the harvested cannabis has to remain in private. People caught possessing less than 3 grams outside of their home will be subjected to a 145 euro fine. Anything beyond possession of 3 grams will be considered intent to distribute.

Lawmakers in Luxembourg are indicating that further reform will occur, yet there is no timeline for any additional reforms. Given how long it has taken Luxembourg to get to this point, and considering that even this limited legalization bill has yet to be approved, it’s anyone’s guess how long it will take for the country to implement a more robust legalization framework.

For what it is worth, Luxembourg has apparently set up a meeting to take place next month that will be solely dedicated to legalization policy discussions, and Luxembourg has invited other European nations to join. Per Luremburger Wort (translated to English):

However, it was also a good thing that the new German government was moving in the same direction when it came to drug policy. “We now have strong allies in the greater region and the Netherlands and Malta are also going down this path. We are no longer alone.” In July, Luxembourg invites like-minded EU countries to a meeting.

As mentioned in the excerpt, Germany, which shares a border with Luxembourg, is expected to legalize cannabis for adult use this year, and its model will be considerably more robust compared to what is currently being pursued in Luxembourg.

In addition to including a home cultivation provision, German lawmakers are expected to roll out what will instantly become the largest regulated adult-use sales model on earth.

It’s unclear which nations will take up Luxembourg on its invite, however, it’s likely a safe bet to assume that if other European countries join the meeting there will be a wide away of approaches to legalization policy expressed in the meeting. Hopefully the meeting boosts momentum for legalization and yields favorable results across the continent.

Europe, luxembourg

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Luxembourg Presents Draft Law On Cannabis Legalization

Last week, Luxembourg unveiled its draft recreational cannabis bill – but what comes after home grow?

Citing the German government’s decision to move forward on the legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes, the Luxembourg government unveiled its own draft proposal. The bill is intended to create a law allowing every Luxembourgian over the age of 21 the right to use cannabis in private, for recreational purposes.

Adults in Luxembourg will also be allowed to grow up to four plants in their own apartments or houses – but the plants cannot be visible in “public spaces.”

Home grow proposals, however, are at least this summer, starting to open up interesting conversations in countries from Portugal and Italy in the EU to Brazil in Latin America.

Is That All?

Limited home grow is certainly an improvement to the status quo. Currently fines for cannabis use in the public range from 250-2500 euros. The legislation would lower these fines (to no more than 500 euros).

The Minister of Justice however has also described the legislation as the “first stage” of implementing the promise of the liberal-green-social democratic alliance that made the promise to legalize cannabis by 2023.

The second step would, according to government sources, create a national production and supply chain that would also be under government control and auditing.

Home grow, black market, legit market

Getting rid of the organized crime link to the black market is increasingly a reason to legalize cannabis that is showing up in political discourse now all over Europe. Portugal, for example, is also now moving forward with implementing a law that would allow people to grow up to five plants.

The reality is that most people – whether they are patients or casual users, prefer to buy their cannabis commercially. That is why the home grow proposals now floating around Europe are important – but clearly only a precursor to the legit, regulated, and recreational market. The questions about how to implement commercial retail recreational cannabis however is only really beginning – and not just in Luxembourg.

In Canada, where the right to grow at home for medical purposes was established at the Supreme Court level at the turn of the century, patient collectives currently pose the largest threat to the legitimate industry there is. This is why similar developments in Europe will be interesting to watch – especially where medical use is legal but may or may not be covered by insurance.

This is also why, in all probability, home grow for medical use will probably not be decided legislatively but rather through the courts.

Home grow may be politically a la mode right now – but the really hard questions are still being left off the table everywhere.



Cannabis Legalization Plans Emerging in Luxembourg

Luxembourg will unveil the final legislation soon, but the details are now emerging

It has been in the works for the last four years ever since the new government promised that it would progress with cannabis legalization before 2023. Now the details are emerging – both through leaks and now from the government itself. The final draft bill will be made public sometime in June.

According to Minister of Justice Sam Tanson, the bill will allow Luxembourgian residents to grow four plants at home. Beyond this, possession of fewer than three grams of cannabis will be decriminalized.

Trade in cannabis seeds will be allowed, nationwide, because it will make no sense to criminalize seed sales when people are allowed to grow their own.

The announcement noted that it is now easier for Luxembourg to stake its position on this as Germany is also moving forward on adult-use reform. That said, there seems to be no formal cooperation or communication between the two governments on coordinating plans or even advising each other. Apparently, plans for commercial cultivation and sales were dropped in Luxembourg at least because of the prevailing international regulations about cannabis.

Expect, as a result of Germany’s forward movement, for the Luxembourgian government to also expand such rights domestically.

In the meantime, Luxembourg will (at least) match Malta in allowing home grow.

The Impact of German Legalization

As widely anticipated, other countries in Europe are watching – and waiting – for Germany’s stake in the ground on the legalization question.

That legislation is also expected to be drafted and made public sometime this summer – to allow the Bundestag to debate and then pass it by the end of the year. If the Health Minister fails in this task, he will lose his PR budget – so it is unlikely that there will be a significant delay on the German side of the border.

Because the German discussion is absolutely about the commercialization of the recreational side of the industry, which will undoubtedly grow on the basic infrastructure established by the medical cannabis cultivation bid, it is also likely that other countries, starting with Luxembourg and Malta, if not Portugal beyond this, will almost certainly issue similar kinds of regulations.

Given the fact that Covid is receding, governments are running out of time and excuses in tackling this discussion. How quickly such legislation will not only be passed but allow a fully functional market is another question.


cannabis leaf

Luxembourg’s Home Grow Legislation In Progress

The long-delayed legislation appears to be moving – perhaps in response to the dramatic announcement that the German government will legalize recreational use this year

During a Parliamentary “Question Time” last week, a Pirate Party representative, Sven Clement asked about the status of legalization of cannabis.

He was informed by Justice Minister Sam Tanson that work on this bill has been delayed due to the involvement of several ministries in the process. This includes the Ministry of Health whose priorities for the last two years have been the pandemic.

The good news? The first step – the long-delayed legislation permitting the cultivation of up to four plants at home, is about to be submitted to the Governing Council (consisting of the Prime Minister and a number of Ministers – similar to a British or American cabinet).

Luxembourg Cannot Ignore Its Neighbour – Much Less Its Electoral Promise

It was almost inevitable that Luxembourg would accelerate its long-promised and now delayed legalization plans after Germany announced that it would pass legislation authorizing a recreational cannabis market by the end of this year.

Apart from geographical proximity, Luxembourg has been poised at this point for the last several years – since the new government came to power in 2018. The ruling coalition however has never issued any more of a timetable than sometime before 2023.

Given, however, that the pandemic is receding, and cannabis reform has clearly continued to progress across the region (see Switzerland) there was little chance that the Luxembourgian government could fence sit indefinitely.

The Importance of Luxembourg on German Reform – And Vice Versa

Both countries seem, at this point, to be influencing each other. The new schedule in Luxembourg is undoubtedly being influenced by the recent German announcement. Luxembourg previously announced that its first foray into the entire discussion would be home grow. This in turn, however, has clearly ensured that home grow would also be on the menu on the German side of the border.

Home grow is going to be a tricky discussion just about everywhere. Namely, how will it be regulated, will patients be allowed a higher plant count than others, and will patient non-profits now be allowed to operate, serving multiple patients?

There is no way to determine these details yet. But they are clearly on the drawing board.

In the meantime, it is clear that Luxembourg is moving ahead on reform actively now. This means that by 2023, four European countries including not only Switzerland, but Malta, Germany and now Luxembourg, will have moved into the federal legalization camp.


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Will Luxembourg Beat Germany To Adult-Use Legalization?

Luxembourg’s Minister of Justice Sam Tanson announced in the Chamber of Deputies this week that a draft cannabis legalization bill is on its way, with the Council of Government expected to get its first look at the draft next month.

Even though the draft bill has yet to be introduced, some components of it were made public along with the announcement that the draft bill was looming.

The measure, which if approved would serve as the foundation of Luxembourg’s legalization model, is largely based on citizens’ right to home cultivation, although it seems to be unclear what the plant limit would be.

Furthermore, possession of 3 grams of cannabis or less would no longer result in a criminal penalty, and according to the previously cited local media coverage, ‘fines will be decreased.’ Is it really legalization if there is any fine, no matter how large or small the fine might be?

Delays In Luxembourg

For a time, it appeared that Luxembourg would become the first country in Europe to pass an adult-use legalization measure. However, that designation was ceded to Malta late last year when lawmakers there approved an adult-use legalization bill.

Unlike the only two countries where cannabis is currently legal for adult use (Uruguay and Canada) Malta’s legalization model does not include provisions for legal purchases through storefronts, pharmacies, delivery services, etc.

Rather, Malta’s legalization model is largely non-commercial, relying on private cannabis clubs and home cultivation by which consumers can acquire cannabis.

What Luxembourg’s final legalization model will look like is something that we will all have to wait for. However, if the details that are floating around right now ultimately prove to be the basis of the country’s legalization model, legalization in Luxembourg will prove to be less significant than if the country implemented a legalization model that is more in line with what is being pursued in Germany.

Legalization Effort’s Current Status In Germany

Germany recently announced that it would be speeding up its own timeline for legalization to as early as this summer, and the Bundestag’s budget committee recently issued an ultimatum to the nation’s Health Ministry to submit a passable recreational cannabis bill by the end of the summer or face budgetary consequences.

For a time it seemed unclear whether legalization in Germany would entail home cultivation, however, members of Germany’s current coalition government have indicated in recent weeks that home cultivation is a necessary component of a viable legalization measure.

Whether Luxembourg beats Germany to adult-use legalization or not is largely moot in many ways being that legalization in Germany appears to be just as imminent as in Luxembourg, both countries are expected to legalize home cultivation, and Germany’s legalization model will likely prove to be far more robust compared to Luxembourg’s.

All of that, of course, doesn’t even touch on the potential market size difference between the two nations. Luxembourg has a population of roughly 632,000 people. Germany has a population of roughly 83 million people. Germany also experiences over 10 times the level of tourism that Luxembourg does.

Even if Luxembourg allowed legal sales, which it doesn’t appear that it will, the country’s industry would pale in comparison to Germany’s.

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