Image copyright EPA Image caption Luxembourg could become the first country in Europe to legalize cannabis
Luxembourg has reportedly become the first country in Europe to grant legal access to cannabis.
The European Parliament voted to allow the sale of cannabis-infused products in pharmacies and shops after 80 years of prohibition.
Critics call the move an unrealistic farce since cannabis is illegal in Luxembourg – and likely to remain so in the near future.
There is currently an unofficial medical cannabis trade in the country, funded by local farmers.
A petition, which argues that the EU should revise the rules on cannabis cultivation, has garnered more than 80,000 signatures.
On Wednesday, the European Parliament voted for a new law that would allow for the medicinal use of cannabis.
The vote follows a report published in December that recommended liberalising cannabis laws across the EU.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption France is considering legalising cannabis
As with any vote, the final outcome is not final until approved by the European Commission, and then signed by all the member states.
“Cannabis is a very difficult issue to regulate because different countries have different standards,” said Martin Gatte, Europe senior counsel for the Drug Policy Alliance.
“This is part of a very complex process of acknowledging that cannabis should be legalised and regulated and taking into account how different countries regulate it.”
Image copyright AFP Image caption French President Emmanuel Macron has expressed his support for legalising cannabis
“We’re all full of hope and joy,” said Daniel, a 25-year-old cannabis consumer in Luxembourg, speaking to Reuters.
But some health campaigners argue that legalising the plant is unlikely to do any good.
“The medicine being produced and sold in stores will be a farce as the medicine is not licensed by any of the pharmaceutical institutions,” said David Haller, president of the European Association for Substance Dependence Prevention.
Police officials also say that such a bill would not help in their fight against drug trafficking.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The same House of Lords are currently debating another bill that would legalise cannabis
Luxembourg has a reputation as one of the most liberal countries in Europe – marijuana has been legalised in cafes and pharmacies since 2009.
But in the past few months several new laws have tightened restrictions on cannabis, prohibiting the sale of joints, rolling papers and even what local people called “slippery pill” leaves.
In January, police raided cafes serving cannabis, but only impounded 280 knick-knacks.
What is legal in Europe?
Marijuana is legal in most European countries and, while cannabis can be cultivated or consumed, some jurisdictions have decided not to treat it like alcohol or tobacco.
The countries are:
Portugal decriminalised drug possession in 2001 and cannabis consumption in 2006, but it requires taking drugs test
In Italy, 16% of consumption is of cannabis or the plant variants
In Italy, smoking in public spaces and urinating in parks has been banned since the 1990s
Netherlands, which plans to legalise cannabis
Guinea, Serbia, Mauritius, South Africa, Madagascar, Solomon Islands, Ghana, Uganda, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Myanmar, Lebanon, Iraq, Sudan, Eritrea, Lebanon, Sudan, Jordan, Gambia, Algeria, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Cape Verde, Turkmenistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Angola, Kosovo, Burundi, Tanzania, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Swaziland, Ghana, Guyana, Zambia, Nigeria, Mozambique, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti, Mali, Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Mauritania, Angola, Cameroon, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Gabon, Gambia, Benin, Togo, Nigeria, Cameroon, Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Chad, Togo, Senegal, Mauritania, Gambia, Togo, Mauritania, Central African Republic, Comoros, Gabon, Togo, Madagascar, Tanzania, Sao Tome and Principe
Sweden, Norway, El Salvador and Togo allowed cannabis to be sold at pharmacies in 2014, making it the first time in the world that pharmacies were allowed to sell medicine
Germany, which has set up a government-funded pilot project, allowed cannabis for medicinal use in 2016
Source: European Commission