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Minister casts doubt over Luxembourg legal weed plan
Drug policy

Minister casts doubt over Luxembourg legal weed plan

by Yannick LAMBERT 2 min. 17.09.2021 From our online archive
Coalition agreement of 2018 promised legalisation of consumption, production, sale and possession of cannabis
Photo credit: Shutterstock

Justice Minister Sam Tanson on Friday refused to confirm Luxembourg will legalise cannabis for recreational use in an apparent U-turn over a government promise from 2018 that drew widespread international attention.

"I can't confirm anything," Tanson said in an interview when asked whether the sale of cannabis would still be made legal, as foreseen in the 2018 coalition agreement. Earlier, she had sidestepped questions about the overall plan to legalise the production, sale, possession and consumption of cannabis.

Tanson is set to publish a package of measures for security and drug policy issues in October, she told public radio station 100,7, which would include the regulation of cannabis use. But she did not give further details.

Former economy minister Etienne Schneider and Tanson's predecessor Felix Braz travelled to Canada in 2019 to learn how that country had implement legislation to legalise cannabis for recreational use in that year.

They promised to bring a draft bill to parliament in autumn. Braz then fell ill, and Tanson took over from him. In 2020, the government 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. The Grand Duchy would be the first European country to legalise cannabis. Other countries, such as the Netherlands and Portugal, having merely decriminalised it.

Luxembourg's decision - like that of Canada - 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.

Security problems caused by illegal drug trading in areas such as around Luxembourg's central train station have been a hotly debated issue this year, with city mayor Lydie Polfer hiring private security companies, saying that that the police was clearly not able to guarantee the safety of residents.

In her radio interview, Tanson indicated that the October law would need to take all such issues into account: consumption, possession and selling cannabis, but also security of residents and prevention of addiction.

"Our drug policies of the last ten years have been a failure, we cannot continue with these repressive measures," she said. "We want to stop people from consuming drugs, but we also want to accompany those who are addicted, socially and from a health perspective. And we want to guarantee the security of residents", Tanson said.

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