By Chris Bovey
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, a small European country bordered by Germany, Belgium and France will be the next country to legalise cannabis, as prohibition falls across the globe.
Following the lead of both Uruguay and Canada, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, whose mandate as has been extended by the formation of a coalition government between the Democratic Party, the Luxembourg Socialist Workers’ Party, and The Greens, announced the legalisation of recreational cannabis in Luxembourg.
This will make Luxembourg the first country in the European Union to officially legalise cannabis. It is decriminalised or tolerated in The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the Czech Republic, but Luxembourg will be the first to actually legalise.
Earlier this year a parliamentary debate was held after a public petition calling for cannabis to be legalised for recreational use and distributed through coffee shops in Luxembourg gained enough support for it to be discussed at the Chamber.
A similar petition was met a few years ago in the United Kingdom on the Downing Street petitions website, which forced British MPs to discuss drugs policy. They spent a few hours discussing it, agreed the current policies were not working and then ignored it, in fact, they introduced more prohibition, such as the failed Psychoactive Substances Act.
Looks like they do things in Luxembourg a bit different, the people spoke and the government listened. They have also promised a number of other popular measures, such as the increase of minimum income and free transportation.
Europe already has a booming cannabis industry, both legal and illegal. In most European countries, seeds and growing equipment are legal, as well as CBD products. Large hemp expos take place in countries like Spain and Czech Republic and of course, it has been de facto legal in The Netherlands since the early 1970s where it is sold in the nation’s famous coffeeshops.
While Luxembourg only has a small population of half a million people, this is groundbreaking news for the European cannabis market and all eyes will be on neighbouring countries to see how they respond.
It was only a matter of time, after Justin Trudeau made Canada the first G7 nation to legalise recreational cannabis, before a European country followed suit.
In the same week, South Korea, became the first Asian country to legalise medical marijuana. Two other countries in the region, Thailand and Malaysia, not exactly known for their lenient drug policies, are moving towards legalisation of medical marijuana.
Meanwhile, in the UK, cannabis consumers, both recreational and medicinal, still face being arrested and taken to court, even imprisoned, while the British government maintains the lie that cannabis in its herbal form is dangerous. Recent changes in the law have allowed limited access to a small number of patients who have to jump through hoops of fire to get an overpriced product made by people with dodgy connections to the Conservative Party either on an expensive private prescription or sold to the NHS at a great expense. After making these botched law changes, the Home Office made a point of saying recreational cannabis would still remain illegal in the UK, emphasising the penalties for unauthorised supply and possession will remain unchanged.
It was inevitable a European country would soon announce it would legalise recreational cannabis, after they’ve done so in Canada and I expect more will follow their lead soon.
Who knows, if the vile Tories are booted out of office, Britain will become one of those countries too? We can but hope!