These are certainly exciting times for the cannabis industry as the gradual shift from prohibition to legalization is gradually taking a global shape. Gone are the days when many were being criticized and stereotyped for enjoying the recreational goodness of the natural herb. The present state of things has created a welcoming environment for all and sundry to harness the potentials of the medicinal herb for medicinal and recreational benefits. The byproduct of this is that more countries are now open to legalizing the cultivation and use within their jurisdiction. The latest country to join the party is Luxembourg which has legalized the production and consumption of cannabis.
For those that are very conversant with the trend of cannabis laws across Europe, you will agree that this move is very important in changing the scope of cannabis laws across Europe. Luxembourg becomes the first in Europe following its announcement to legalize the production and consumption of natural herbs. Under the new legislation, people from the age of 18 and over will be permitted by law to grow up to four cannabis plants in gardens and homes. The cannabis plants being grown in such households can be used personally with the legislation to allow consumption of the herb also in effect.
The announcement by the government also touched on other major talking points around the use of cannabis products in the country. One of such talking points has to do with the trade involving seeds of the natural herb. The new law will allow distributors and traders to trade in seeds while removing any restrictions in terms of quantity or THC levels. This means that it will be possible to import cannabis seeds, buy them in stores, or order them online. There is also the belief that this announcement will increase the domestic production of seeds and bolster the national production and distribution chain of the country.
The coast is not all clear yet in terms of prohibition
It is important though to state that there are still some restrictions attached to this new legislation by the government of Luxembourg. Some activities involving the natural herb are still prohibited under the new law. These activities include the consumption and transport of cannabis and its products in public places. Likewise, trade involving cannabis or cannabis products other than its seeds remains prohibited and punishable under the law.
Some of the statutes of punishment for offenses involving cannabis or cannabis products have been softened while others remain as they were. Consumption and transport of cannabis up to 3 grams will now be chalked up as a misdemeanor which is softer than the earlier categorization as a criminal offense. Fines for possession of cannabis under 3 grams still rest at 25 pounds which is a long way from 251 pounds. It is however still business as usual in terms of punishment for possession and transport of cannabis products over 3 grams.
Benefits for the people and government of Luxembourg
One of the major talking points of this new pronouncement by the government is what it wishes to achieve with the move. The earlier approach of the government of Luxembourg was aimed at deterring its citizens from using the natural herb for recreational purposes. However, this move didn’t yield much profitable outcome as the existing trend showed that more of its citizens were given over to the use of the herb. Therefore, the move to legalize the herb is set to help the government curtail the effect of black markets which had initially been thriving. Likewise, it will help the government to advocate for and promote reasonable use of the herb.
The government aims to use this legislation to regulate the system of production and distribution of cannabis and cannabis products to authenticate product quality. The government is also said to be planning on introducing revenues generated from the sales of cannabis into widespread education of the populace on the herb and healthcare. This put the state in a prime position to keep its citizens from the risk of adulterated and contaminated products that are common in illegal markets. Therefore, it is only a matter of time before the state wins the war against illegal black markets with the advent of this new law.
Implications for the rest of Europe and the world
As we have stated earlier, this move made by the government is the first by any country in Europe making them the pacesetter of this move among the countries of the continent. This move is even more monumental considering the resolution given at the UN convention on the control of narcotic drugs. The signatories all agreed that manufacture, import, export, distribution, trade, and possession of drugs will be limited to medical and scientific use. This also includes cannabis however Luxembourg joins Canada, Uruguay, and 11 US states who have now flouted this resolution.
The future of cannabis legislation in Europe is very promising but it is still a long way away from where cannabis enthusiasts hoped it would be. The Netherlands is still considered one of the nations in Europe that is more relaxed with cannabis laws. However, activities such as recreational use, possession, and trade are still classified as illegal. What is existent in the Netherlands is more tolerance of recreational use of cannabis within set limits which is quite different from full legislation. The UK also upholds this stance as possession, distribution, cultivation, and use of cannabis remain prohibited with a fine and possible prison sentence on the cards for defaulters.
While it is good news that the government of Luxembourg has taken this bold step, it is important to not get carried away yet. These are still the early days and a lot of work will need to be done if full legalization for recreational and medical use is to be seen across all the countries in Europe. Nonetheless, we can still celebrate this present victory and what it means to the people of Luxembourg.