Luxembourg to scrap legal cannabis plan, radio reports
A second government minister has distanced herself from a once widely publicised promise to legalise cannabis, the next sign Luxembourg may scrap the proposal in a major policy u-turn for the country.
The plan drew widespread international attention when it was announced three years ago by the three-party coalition of the Democratic Party (DP), Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party (LSAP) and Greens (Déi Gréng), as it meant Luxembourg would be the first country in Europe to legalise cannabis.
However, the issue has so far stalled and difficulties in complying with EU legislation would mean full legalisation is unlikely, Health Minister Paulette Lenert told public broadcaster Radio 100,7 on Tuesday.
The government is examining alternatives, Lenert said, though she refused to specify what form any new proposal would take. Josée Lorsché, the Greens parliamentary group leader, also said on Tuesday that there would be amendments to the draft law, the Luxemburger Wort reported.
Ministers are planning a new regulation allowing people to cultivate cannabis in small quantities for private consumption, Radio 100,7 reported, while the original 2018 proposal to legalise sales of the drug would be scrapped.
Lenert’s refusal to confirm the 2018 coalition commitment comes after Justice Minister Sam Tanson declined to confirm the measure would go ahead. “I can’t confirm anything,” Tanson said in an interview on September 17.
Tanson is set to publish a package of measures for security and drug policy issues in October, which would include the regulation of cannabis use.
However, she did not give further details when pressed during her interview earlier this month. Lenert also sidestepped questions on a possible date for an announcement when asked on Tuesday. The government last year presented a roadmap towards legalisation before the next elections in 2023.
Luxembourg's three neighbouring countries voiced their discontent about the plan, fearing the easier rules could bring trouble in border regions. Countries such as the Netherlands and Portugal have merely decriminalised cannabis.
Any move by Luxembourg to introduce full legalisation would also go against UN treaties it has signed that limit the use of cannabis to research and medical purposes, and could therefore be seen as being in breach of international law.
(Additional reporting by Jörg Tschürtz and Marc Schlammes)