Recreational cannabis: overview of the proposed amendments to the current legal framework

In line with the Government’s initiative to regulate access to recreational cannabis, as set out in the Coalition Agreement for 2018-2023, a bill of law to that effect has been presented in June (the “Proposition”).

This initiative follows the conduct of research revealing that cannabis remains the most widely consumed illicit drug in Luxembourg. Based on this observation, the purpose of the Proposition is twofold: on the one hand, reducing the risks associated with the origin and use of cannabis and, on the other hand, preventing crime by counteracting the illegal cannabis market. The Government’s aim is to introduce a national production and sales chain for recreational cannabis and thus combat the illicit importation and sale of cannabis, therefore guaranteeing the quality of the product available on the national territory.

More specifically, the Proposition would amend the law of 19 February 1973 on the sale of medicinal substances and the fight against drug addiction, as amended (the “1973 Law”) in order to enable access to recreational cannabis by fostering self-cultivation and private consumption. The adoption of the Proposition would notably amend the 1973 Law as follows:

any person above the age of 18 would be allowed to cultivate up to 4 cannabis plants per household, exclusively from seeds (such plants must however not be visible in or from public spaces);

personal consumption of cannabis at home would be allowed;

the consumption of cannabis in the public space would, however, remain prohibited;

decriminalising the possession of small quantities of cannabis in the public space. However, the possession of cannabis above the permitted legal threshold (i.e. 3 grammes) would be subject to criminal sentences.

In case of non-compliance with the requirement to cultivate cannabis at home only or to keep the number of plants to a maximum of 4 plants per household, criminal sanctions would apply (i.e. an imprisonment sentence of between 8 days to 5 years and a criminal fine of between EUR 500 and EUR 250,000 or one of these penalties only).

The regulation of cannabis’ self-cultivation and private consumption constitutes a first step in the Government’s objective to combat illegal markets and trades in cannabis.

Aurélia Viémont - Partner | Avocat à la Cour

Mélanie Poirrier - Managing Associate

Sarah Hantscher - Managing Associate | Avocat à la Cour