Luxembourg Country Drug Report 2018

Drug laws and drug law offences

National drug laws

Since 2001, cannabis use and possession for personal use are decriminalised, being illegal activities attracting a fine only. Prison sentences are possible only if there are aggravating circumstances (e.g. use in schools or in the presence of minors). Users of other illicit substances risk imprisonment for between eight days and six months and/or a fine. Prosecution may be halted or penalties reduced in cases where a drug user has taken steps to seek specialised help.

The law does not differentiate between small-scale and large-scale drug deals or distribution. Sentences for both currently range from one to five years’ imprisonment and/or a fine, while a prison sentence of 5-10 years is imposed if the distributed drug has caused severe damage to health (e.g. an incurable disease). If the drugs have fatal consequences for the user, punishment for the distributor can be increased to 15-20 years’ imprisonment.

New psychoactive substances (NPS) are regulated and controlled by the same legal instruments as ‘established’ illicit drugs. NPS may be added in the national lists of controlled substances by means of an accelerated legal procedure.

 

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Drug law offences

Drug law offence (DLO) data are the foundation for monitoring drug-related crime and are also a measure of law enforcement activity and drug market dynamics; they may be used to inform policies on the implementation of drug laws and to improve strategies.

In 2013-15 there were large year-on-year increases in the number of drug law offenders, with a slight decrease in 2016. The variations are attributed to changing priorities in police activity, which in recent years has focused mainly on several urban drug-selling ‘hotspots’.

 

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Methodological note: Analysis of trends is based only on those countries providing sufficient data to describe changes over the period specified. The reader should also be aware that monitoring patterns and trends in a hidden and stigmatised behaviour like drug use is both practically and methodologically challenging. For this reason, multiple sources of data are used for the purposes of analysis in this report. Caution is therefore required in interpretation, in particular when countries are compared on any single measure. Detailed information on methodology and caveats and comments on the limitations in the information set available can be found in the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin.