Updated on January 22, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
The prime minister of Luxembourg and the cabinet of the Duchy have both asserted the country will soon have a medical marijuana program for qualifying patients. The Ministry of Health will develop a two-year pilot project in 2018, which allows patients to access medical marijuana after receiving a prescription from a physician.
Although thousands of citizens have signed petitions to the government to enact this medical marijuana program, it will be extremely limited. In fact, the Minister of Health estimates only 80 to 100 people will be allowed to participate and receive cannabis treatments. This is because the program is not to be a therapeutic option, but a medication reserved for patients with chronic conditions. The use of medical marijuana will be strictly regulated and controlled in Luxembourg.
Luxembourg is not new to the medical cannabis debate. Many European neighbors of this small country have already enacted medical marijuana legislation, giving qualified patients access. Although influenced by the policies of fellow members of the EU, Luxembourg has not written any laws based on other nations.
Currently, the only legal medical marijuana products are cannabinoid-based medications. In 2012, the government permitted doctors to start prescribing these types of medicines. In 2015, they added Sativex to the list for patients with intractable spasticity and multiple sclerosis. Now, the Ministry of Health is developing a pilot project which will give qualified patients access to raw cannabis, marijuana oil, sprays and tinctures.
As it stands, there are no medical marijuana laws in place in Luxembourg. Once the pilot project is complete, the government will review its effectiveness and lay out official guidelines for medical marijuana patients.
Once the country’s medical cannabis pilot project begins, patients will have to go to a specialist to be approved for medical marijuana. This could be an internal doctor, oncologist or a neurologist. The physician will only be able to prescribe cannabis if they can prove it will be an improvement to the patient’s current form of treatment. Only a handful of conditions will qualify for the program, including:
In large, the recreational use of marijuana has been decriminalized in Luxembourg as long as an individual is only found in possession of a small amount. In 2001, a revised drug law reduced the classification of cannabis to a Category B controlled substance.
Even though it is still illegal to possess, consume or transport marijuana, the revised law reduces the penalty. Those guilty of these crimes will not face any prison sentences — just a fine of between 250 and 2500 Euros, depending how much marijuana is involved.
The medical marijuana program in Luxembourg will not be as inclusive as other European nations. Some of the limitations patients can expect include:
Although the possession of small amounts of cannabis is decriminalized within Luxembourg, the medical marijuana pilot project will offer additional protection to both patients and physicians. If they follow the regulations laid out by the Ministry of Health, patients found with cannabis medications will not be subject to any fines or penalties.
In addition, specialists who feel their patients with severe medical conditions will benefit from medical marijuana will be able to offer prescriptions.
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