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Premier Xavier Bettel since the beginning of the year has spoken about the attempt at legalization but without haste in applying it; in fact, it seems that a draft of legalization has been working for a couple of years, at the beginning of 2021, the government declared that it had not given itself a deadline:

« The government has not set a deadline for legalization to come into effect, the government's priority is to take the time necessary to carry it out properly ».

The purpose of Luxembourg does not seem to be to transform itself into the new Amsterdam and therefore as a new tourist destination dedicated to the culture of cannabis, but the aim of the political decision is first and foremost the attempt to definitively end the prohibition that continues to characterize the majority of countries. Europeans, and as a second, but not least, goal, the government aims to put narcotics out of action. We recall that the Netherlands has adopted a policy of greater tolerance, called the "gedoogbeleid", for the recreational use and possession of drugs that are technically not allowed (read here). The Luxembourg experiment will therefore be watched with interest by all countries, including Italy, which intend to loosen bans on soft drugs through a referendum by the end of next summer.

The draft law, which has been kept as confidential as possible, could become the first real legalization in Europe. According to sources, it was published by the public broadcaster, Radio 100.7. The broadcaster explains that the government's intention is not to go against the European Union nor against neighboring countries. This whole process was therefore the result of months of discussions between the various political representatives within the nation.

What will Luxembourg allow?

The central elements in this regard of the law on the legalization of the plant concern the availability of the resource for those over 18 who will be able to hold up to 30 grams but which requires registration in a controlled register of consumers. The new legislation will therefore make it possible to grow up to four cannabis plants at home or in the garden; The trade of seeds will be allowed without any limit on the quantity or levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and will be available for purchase in stores, online, or eventually may be available following imports. Among the government's intentions there are also those to regularize domestic production and exchanges between private individuals, up to, over time, a large-scale production to meet the needs of the nation and future commercialization.

It has been declared that a total of 14 retail cannabis sales centers will open across the country to which only citizens residing in the state for at least 6 months will be able to access; moreover, a production attempt will be reserved for companies authorized by the government, the latter will be the only one to be able to decide the orientation of the cannabis sales price range.

The salient features of the legalization proposal.

  • Citizens of at least 18 years of age will be able to purchase a maximum of 30 grams of cannabis per month upon registration in a consumer register;
    To access legal cannabis, one must have been resident in Luxembourg for at least 6 months, a rule introduced to deal with the phenomenon of cannabis tourism, which Luxembourg tries to avoid;
    Initially there will be 14 outlets across the state where citizens will be able to purchase cannabis;
    The retail price will be set by the state, which according to the draft law will maintain a popular price;
    There will be no THC limits, but a progressive taxation based on the active ingredient is envisaged to discourage the production of cannabis with high psychoactive levels;
    It will be forbidden to consume cannabis in public places and in all places where the consumption of tobacco is currently prohibited;
    Any form of advertising on legal cannabis will be prohibited;
    The policy towards motorists, on the other hand, does not change. Zero tolerance.

The choice of these stringent criteria adopted by the government's proposal demonstrates how, in this first phase of the legalization process, we want to proceed with strictly controlled regulation, to try to maintain strong relations with the EU and neighboring countries. There are no certain dates on when the draft will be presented in Parliament, but given the delicate issue and the fearthat conflicts with nations located just beyond the limits of their borders could occur, these would be the reasons why it is expected that the deposition of the official law will be done with calm and foresight. Despite all the attention and care that can delay the process, the state has nevertheless moved its steps on the path of legalization. With a good chance, therefore, it could become the first European state to approve a real legalization of cannabis, overcoming the “informal” attempt models currently in force in Spain and the Netherlands. In 2019, Health Minister Etienne Schneider said:

«The drug restrictions we have had over the past 50 years have not worked. Prohibiting everything has made everything more interesting for young people. »

In Luxembourg, cannabis for medical purposes has been officially allowed since 2017 and could soon move on to the next step that represents it as the fourth country in the world, after Uruguay in 2013 and Canada in 2018, and the 11 states of the US still today. expansion, to make the use of cannabis flowers completely lawful. The important goal of keeping consumers away from the illegal market would consist in regulating the internal production and distribution system, aiming to increase the quality of the product and therefore reduce the risks to the consumer's health.

According to the government, the revenues from sales, which in Colorado in 2021 saw a rise of 150% and therefore about 39.6 billion dollars, will be reinvested in prevention, education and health care programs in the vast field of addictions. hard drugs. The choice of adopting the policy of legalization will lead the state to go against what is the United Nations convention signed by previous governments on drug control. It requires cannabis to be used.

« Exclusively for medical and scientific purposes, from the production to manufacture, export, distribution and trade of drugs ».

Justice Minister Sam Tamson described the change in the law on domestic production and consumption as a first step towards building a more complex system away from drug trafficking:

« We thought we had to act, we have a problem with drugs and cannabis is the most used drug and it's a big part of the illegal market […] We want to start people growing it at home. The idea is that a consumer is not in an illegal situation if he consumes cannabis and that we do not support the whole illegal chain, from production to transport to sale, where there is a lot of criticism. We want to do everything possible to keep more and more people away from the illegal black market. »

The legislation was driven by the desire to liberalize consumption and cultivation in total privacy within one's own home. This can only be the beginning of a more complex production and commercial regulation system.

and where are we in Italy?

After collecting about 610,000 signatures, the referendum on Italian cannabis, an initiative promoted, among others, by the Luca Coscioni Association, Meglio Legale and by the Radicals, had some small problems along the way, risking being "almost sabotaged". Despite the success of popular participation in the online collection, made possible by the signing through SPID, the proposal has faced difficulties relating to the delivery of electoral certificates, by some defaulting municipalities, especially in large cities such as Milan and Bologna. Against the 545,394 digital certificates requested with 37,300 certified e-mails sent to the municipalities, 28,600 e-mails returned for a total of approximately 125,000 certificates. The organizers tried to make an appeal on behalf of those who signed the question, to the Minister of Justice Marta Cartabia, so that the government would undertake to extend the deadline, as has already happened for the other referendums, to 31 October.

The organizers therefore sent, through the certified mail system, the requests for over 500,000 certificates of registration on the electoral list relating to the online signatures for the cannabis referendum. So finally the Council of Ministers gave the go-ahead to extend the deadlines for delivering the signatures of the referendums presented after June 15, including that on legal cannabis. The ministers of the League have decided to abstain to express dissent, but the measure has passed equally by a majority. There will therefore be time until October 31st. The deadline is actually postponed for a month. The deadlines for the presentation of signatures by 30 September are postponed by one month, according to the text approved by the Council of Ministers.

« For the referendum requests provided for by article 75 of the Constitution presented after June 15, 2021 and by the date of entry into force of this decree. »

After the extraordinary success of the online collection, the campaign has been launched in recent weeks in the squares of the main Italian cities and municipalities, providing over 150 infopoints. Physical stations on a voluntary basis by young activists who will inform and collect additional signatures to complement those obtained digitally.

« There is an extraordinary participation, especially among the young, it is not true that young people are not interested in politics, to participate, concrete objectives. Legalizing cannabis can and should be done by everyone. »

What process awaits the referendum?

As we get closer and closer to October 31, the cannabis referendum will have to address:

  • The Supreme Court which will be in charge of verifying the validity of the signatures collected and therefore the correspondence of the certificates;
    the Constitutional Court which, following the outcome of the review of the cassation, will start the verification of the admissibility and legitimacy of the abrogative referendum presented.
    If the referendum exceeds these two control bodies, the government will have to decide on a specific Sunday in the period from April 14 to June 14 to implement the referendum. Simultaneously with our referendum (because each activist contributes) it will be accompanied by that in favor of euthanasia. Perhaps the combination of two such complex issues could prove successful in favor of both causes. We remind you that 50% + 1 of the Italians with the right to vote must participate in the referendum and only if this threshold of participation were to be exceeded could the ballots be counted, in which even one more vote can make a difference.

From the Swg poll released in the first weeks of October, the Cannabis referendum would enjoy a favorable majority of 58%, in which it emerges that the affiliation of the issue is traced back to two age groups, that between 18-34 years and 35-44 years, which make up about 66%. The research has obviously highlighted how, among the main reasons that encourage the approval of the referendum, there is the goal of removing the market from organized crime: this is the case for eight out of ten people. We are sorry to repeat it every single time but we will never get tired, taking the market away from the mafias would mean increasing the quality of the product in favor of consumers. As for political faiths, 74% of the voters of the Democratic Party and 81% of those who vote for 5Stelle but also 4 out of 10 of the Lega and Fdi say yes to legalization. 56% of the interviewees also said they were against the current law that punishes up to 6 years of imprisonment for those who cultivate cannabis even if for personal use. In a Eurispes poll in July 2020, only 47.8% of citizens said they agreed with legalization.

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