Justice minister says the move is aimed at curbing illegal market for Cannabis

Luxembourg has become the first country in Europe to legalize both the consumption and production of cannabis following a government announcement that it would allow adults to grow up to four cannabis plants at home.

Luxembourg’s coalition government agreed in 2018 that it would work towards the ‘exemption from punishment’ or legalisation of cannabis

The proposals come as part of a package of new measures to help tackle drug crime in the country. This also will allow cannabis seeds to be sold in shops, imported or purchased online. However, under the new measures, there will still be a legal prohibition on the consumption and transport of the drug in public, while the trade of cannabis products other than seeds will remain banned.

As part of the new plans, anyone caught with small amounts of cannabis (less than 3 grams) will no longer face a criminal offence and will instead face a fine between €25 and €500, down from around €2500 previously.

On Friday, justice minister Sam Tanson said that the move was aimed at curbing the illegal market for cannabis products in the country by allowing low levels of personal consumption 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,” Ms Tanson said, as reported by The Guardian.

“We want to do anything we can to get more and more away from the illegal black market.”

The countries Greens, who share a coalition government with the Democratic Party and the Luxembourg Socialist Workers Party, say that the move represents “a fundamental reorientation of Luxembourg’s drug policy”, after admitting the country’s “War on cannabis” had failed. “At last, the use of cannabis is being regulated and a legal alternative to the black market is being created.”

In March of this year, deputy leader of The Green Party in Northern Ireland Malachai O’Hara said in an interview with Belfast Live, that legislation and harm-reduction models should be considered as the “current approach is obviously not working”. He went on to state that Portugal, which decriminalised drugs for personal use, has fewer drug deaths than Northern Ireland, despite having almost six times the population.

There were 191 drug-related deaths in Northern Ireland in 2019, which is double the figure recorded a decade ago, and with fresh calls for the executive to look at new measures regarding the government’s drug policy here, is it time to try a fresh approach in Northern Ireland?

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