Updated on January 30, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
In 2017, both the cabinet of the Duchy of Luxembourg and the Prime Minister agreed that patients should soon have access to medical cannabis. However, the date for this change is not set, and patients still have zero access within the country.
Although the Luxembourg government prefers to do things their own way, they are not deaf to this rising European trend. They are also sympathetic to the plight of citizens who would benefit from cannabis medications. So, a medical marijuana program is currently being formalized by the nation’s Ministry of Health. A two-year pilot project should also be adopted in 2018.
Since 2012, qualifying patients in Luxembourg have been prescribed cannabinoid derivative medications, but not raw forms of the plant. In 2015, Sativex was authorized for patients with MS or severe spasticity. But now, the government wishes to expand their medical marijuana program to reflect the advancements occurring in the medical cannabis industry.
Because Luxembourg’s medical marijuana program has not yet been initiated, the ins and outs of the regulations have not been worked out. However, the government has already stated some of the aspects of the program that patients should expect.
The pilot project will be strictly regulated and controlled. Cannabis in Luxembourg is not necessarily intended for therapeutic benefits — rather, doctors are to find individual patients who would particularly benefit from its use.
The history of medical marijuana in Luxembourg is complicated. Although the small country is fiercely independent, they often take a cue from the actions of their neighbors. France has staunchly stood against introducing medical marijuana legislation, while their other neighbor, Germany, recently adopted inclusive medical cannabis legislation.
Recreational marijuana remains illegal — however, the government revised prior drug laws to reduce the classification of cannabis to a Category B controlled substance in 2001. This means possessing small amounts of the plant is decriminalized, meriting only a small fine for first-time offenders.
New medical marijuana legislation has been slowly introduced since 2012, when prescriptions with cannabinoids were approved for qualifying patients. However, with the new pilot program, raw cannabis and other forms of medical marijuana could be available to certain patients by the end of 2018.
Although the pilot program has not yet been introduced, Luxembourg citizens can possess small amounts of marijuana without being arrested. In fact, first-time offenders will simply have to pay a small fine.
The cultivation of marijuana is also illegal, except for strains with less than a 0.3% THC content. Due to this exception, hemp cultivators are hoping to expand their growing practices.
When the Luxembourg medical marijuana pilot project is introduced, it will be strictly regulated, and only certain medical conditions will qualify for cannabis, such as:
The Luxembourg government estimates only 80 to 100 patients will be admitted to their pilot program. To get a cannabis prescription, a patient will have to visit a specialist, like an oncologist, neurologist or internal doctor. If they can verify a patient qualifies, they will write a prescription.
The statutory health insurance will cover the cost of medical marijuana for all patients. Physicians will only be able to prescribe limited dosage amounts — around one gram per day. Patients won’t be able to fill their prescriptions at regular pharmacies, but instead must go through hospital pharmacies.
The possession of small amounts of cannabis has been decriminalized within Luxembourg. However, the possession, consumption and transportation of marijuana remain illegal. Because of revised drug legislation initiated in 2001, those found guilty of these crimes will not go to prison, but instead will have to pay a fine. The amount depends on how much cannabis found in their possession and can range from 250 to 2500 Euros.
As countries around the world change their attitudes toward medical marijuana, stay up to date with help from MarijuanaDoctors.com. Read about international cannabis laws and browse our informative blog for even more interesting details about marijuana medicine and legislation.