The ice is finally broken in the European Union (EU) as Luxembourg is set to become the first country to fully legalize the recreational use of the drug. After much brainstorming and debate, the move is being applauded by cannabis users and supporters of legal cannabis.
Europe’s treatment of cannabis is quite hazy. With a generally lenient view of medical cannabis, the continent has been viewed as forward-thinking. In addition, several European countries — the Netherlands being a prime example, having authorized the sale and use of the drug in coffee shops since the 1970s — allow the use or possession of some quantity of cannabis. Most of those countries have not fully legalized recreational use, but either only prosecute extreme cases or turn a blind eye. In other words, most of them have decriminalized the drug, but have not legalized it.
Portugal presents a different topic. The country has taken a hands off approach on all drugs –literally ALL drugs. This policy has worked well for Portugal, as it treats drug users in medical facilities as opposed to prosecuting them.
Regardless of these other European countries, Luxembourg’s proposed move is an outright legalization of recreational cannabis use — a first in the EU. This is groundbreaking news for the drug investor, given the exponential growth the market will witness as a result of such a change in the law.
The benefits of legalizing cannabis in Luxembourg
According to a TNS IIres poll, 56 percent of Luxembourg citizens are in favor of legalizing the drug. The odds have always favored regulation, and the government has decided to go with the voice of the country.
Furthermore, the move is strategic in many ways. Here are a few of them.
- New market in Europe
Apart from providing medical aid to chronically ill patients, legalization will create an altogether different market which, unlike Switzerland, will include THC.
- Help the Dutch reform their market
The regulation of cannabis in the country is likely to help the Dutch reform their cannabis market. As the industry is gaining popularity and becoming more and more regulated, the Dutch and the Germans are expected to increase both import and export of medical cannabis.
- Encourage other countries in Europe
This development by a country with a small population of under 600,000 is likely to push the issue of complete legalization across the EU, and Europe in general. However, decisions regarding the drug aren’t likely to be made in the coming years.
Objectives of legalizing the drug
Luxembourg’s primary goals of regulating of marijuana are as follows:
- Eliminating the black market
- Mitigating the psychological and physical harm of cannabis use
- Reducing the criminal activity related to the drug
According to the policy released by the Luxembourg government, the production, possession, and consumption will be regulated within the country’s borders with no scope for export or import.
The rules so far
Though the new government has recently announced its intention to legalize cannabis, a lot of research regarding the implementation and licensing is still pending.
Here are a few rules which are likely to come into practice.
- Luxembourg government is planning to distribute cannabis commercially
- Only residents of the city are eligible to buy the drug from the commercial market; for others, it will remain a punishable offense
- The government is planning to introduce strong penalties for those who break the rules, such as selling marijuana to a minor.
- The implementation process is likely to take care of addiction prevention measures.
In the coming days, the picture will become clearer, and the exact structure of the law will be made public to the people of the city. Until then, Luxembourg citizens are welcoming the change introduced by the government.
The economic and political repercussions of legalizing cannabis for recreational use are plenty. The small country of Luxembourg shares its borders with France, Belgium, and Germany. The world is watching to see how these neighbors will react and how soon they will welcome complete legalization on their doorstep.
Also, when it comes to Europe, a fully legalized cannabis industry is yet to establish itself. It appears that this bold move by Luxembourg is likely to reverberate throughout the continent, and perhaps the globe, not just the European Union. Only time will tell whether the objectives set by the government will be met. For now, the move is not only a boon for recreational users, but also for those who have Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and other chronic ailments.