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The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is one of the smallest (998.6 sq miles, pop. 626,108) and richest ($112,045 per capita) countries in Europe. (It is actually the third richest in the world.)

Its location on the border of Belgium, France and Germany has given it an outsized importance in the European Union, so its moves to legalize cannabis will have a significant impact on other EU countries. It was also a part of the Benelux free trade group that ultimately became the European Union.

From August of 2019, see Luxembourg to be first European country to legalise cannabis.

SEE: Health minister confirms plans and calls on neighbouring countries to relax their laws.

Unfortunately, the pandemic has delayed legalization, but it also seems to have increased demand for medical cannabis.

SEE:  Medical cannabis big hit in Luxembourg. Enough supplies after a shortage in July, government says

Yannick Lambert reports, “Doctors in Luxembourg have given out cannabis to more patients so far this year than in all of 2019, Health Minister Paulette Lenert said on Thursday, a sign that the legalisaton of the drug – which remains banned for recreational use – filled a gap in demand.

A total of 441 patients had been prescribed cannabis as of this month, Lenert said in answer to parliamentary question on Thursday, already more than the 415 people in all of the previous year. 

Parliament approved the medicinal use of cannabis in June 2018 and government will evaluate the law at a later stage. It is mainly prescribed for serious diseases such as multiple sclerosis or cancer.

The first prescriptions started in February 2019, and a six-month study of the effects will start in February 2021, which will help advise the government and parliament as to whether to continue the policy.”

While the delay is unfortunate, it may give Parliament time to draft a more realistic law. For example, the draft law would have banned tourists from cannabis shops in order to dissuade “drug-tourism.” Luxembourg is not really a tourist magnet.

SEE: Things To Know About Using CBD For Anxiety

Again, the real significance of this move will be its influence on its neighbors. If little Luxembourg can do it, why can’t Germany and France, and???

SEE: How Legalizing Cannabis Can Bring Back the Right Kind of Tourism Back to Europe

Richard Cowan is a former NORML National Director and author of Five Nations Where Hemp Is Grown.