Luxembourg will become the first country in Europe to legalise the growing and using of recreational cannabis in a recognition by the government that prohibition has failed.

Under the new laws, people aged 18 and over will be permitted to grow up to four cannabis plants (per household) for personal use. 

Trade in seeds will also be allowed, with no limit on the quantity or levels of THC, via shops, importation and online.

The government plans to allow the domestic production of seeds for commercial reasons, but the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a delay in plans for a national production chain and state-regulated distribution.

The consumption, transportation and trade of cannabis or cannabis products (other than seeds) in public will remain prohibited, but people can consume and transport up to three grams without it being considered a criminal offence. It will be treated as a misdemeanour instead. 

Justice minister Sam Tanson told The Guardian the changes are a “first step”.

“We thought we had to act, we have an issue with drugs and cannabis is the drug that is most used and is a large part of the illegal market.”

Luxembourg justice minister Sam Tanson (image: Yves Kortum)

“We want to start by allowing people to grow it at home. The idea is that a consumer is not in an illegal situation if he consumes cannabis and that we don’t support the whole illegal chain from production to transportation to selling where there is a lot of misery attached. We want to do everything we can to get more and more away from the illegal black market.” 

For those possessing three grams and under, fines will be reduced from €251-€2,500 to €25. 

Tanson added: “Above three grams, nothing changes, you will be considered a dealer. Nothing changes for car drivers either: there is still zero tolerance.”

Meanwhile, Switzerland will draw up a draft law to legalise recreational and medicinal use after a parliamentary commission ruled the drug should no longer be banned.

And Costa Rica recently joined the list of countries which have approved the production and processing of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

Hannah Adler

Hannah is a communications professional and early-career researcher in the disciplines of health communication and health sociology. She is a PhD student at Griffith University currently writing a...