As cannabis legalization sweeps across North America, it was only a matter of time before other parts of the world would follow suit and take a step closer to making the plant legal.
The tiny European country of Luxembourg is about to make history by becoming the first state in Europe to legalize cannabis fully. The country already has legislation in place to roll out the new initiative, which is expected by the fall. Luxembourg’s Health Minister, Étienne Schneider spoke to Euronews about the latest moves. “After decades of repressive policies, we have acknowledged that this policy does not work,” he said. “So it’s time to change mindsets, change our concepts and try something else,” he added.
Due to the makeup of the coalition in the country at the moment, there is little doubt that the legislation will get full parliament approval within the coming months. Schneider made it clear that his country would not become like a “mini Amsterdam” as cannabis would only be legal for citizens and not for tourists. The Health Minister, who is also the Vice Premier, talked about his hope that the new legislation would act as a beacon for other European states in the wake of North American cannabis legalization.
“I hope that this Luxembourg initiative will also have a positive impact on the other countries of the European Union,” Schneider said. Last year, the government of Luxembourg agreed to legalize not only medical cannabis but also recreational. As soon as the new bill gets its final stamp, the government will begin to legalize everything from cultivation to consumption for Luxembourg’s citizens. Only those over the age of 18 will be entitled to purchase cannabis, and the whole supply chain will be regulated by the state to ensure the quality of product and safety.
The minister also spoke to the publication about the expected revenue from cannabis legalization in Luxembourg. As Schneider explained, “For the government, it is clear that all these sums will be reinvested as a priority in prevention, awareness, and care in the broad area of addiction.”
The Health Minister also spoke about “repressive drug policies” across the world in terms of cannabis prohibition which have not worked. “We have acknowledged that this policy does not work,” he said. “It did not meet expectations. So it’s time to change mindsets, change our concepts, and try something else. The Canadian model has also inspired Luxembourg, and it is this model that we will introduce,” he explained.
Similarly, the minister believes that the majority of the country’s citizens are for the move. “I do not see too many obstacles in Luxembourg’s society, considering the feedback we have had so far was rather positive. So I do not expect too much opposition from Luxembourg’s society, which is very progressive,” he said.
When Schneider was asked about how neighboring European states might react to the new laws, he explained that his country had no interest in meddling with other state’s politics. As he explained, “It is not a question of meddling in their national policy, but simply of discussing the observations, we have made in Luxembourg, which was also made in Canada, in certain states of the United States, which suggest that it might be interesting to think of new drug policy.”
With that said, Schneider also spoke openly about his wish that the new policy will influence other European states, “I hope that this Luxembourg initiative will also have a positive impact on the other countries in the European Union.”
Many Europeans have been waiting patiently while North America hurries to legalize cannabis. Many states in Europe, and indeed, countries across the globe are watching Canada very closely to see how well the full legalization of cannabis goes there. In time, one assumes, more states in Europe will adopt pro-cannabis policies. If not at the recreational level, at least at the medical level.