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Police officers allowed to smoke pot when not on the job

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Cannabis is still an intoxicant despite households now being allowed to grow up to four plants.

A police officer last month came under suspicion of drug trafficking after cannabis was found at their home, but members of law enforcement are allowed to smoke pot when they're not on the job.

Police watchdog IGP in August seized 14 and 26 grammes of cannabis, respectively, at the homes of two police officers. One of them was suspected of being involved in drug trafficking, while for the other person it was presumed the drug was for personal use.

Even though a new law allows the possession and consumption of cannabis under certain conditions, the officers made themselves liable to prosecution.

Since 21 July, growing four cannabis plants and consuming the yield in one's own home are allowed in Luxembourg. However, the plants must be grown from seed. Due to the short time span, it is impossible that the drugs seized at the officers' homes came from a newly grown plant.

The new law also applies to police officers.

In principle, it is not forbidden for officers to consume cannabis. During recruitment, however, applicants must undergo a drug test. A positive result for cannabis or another substance is considered a clear criteria for exclusion. After that nothing prevents police officers from smoking a joint in their free time.

Working under the influence prohibited

All members of the police force are prohibited from working under the influence of cannabis, a police spokeswoman said.

The body breaks down THC at different speeds from person to person. A drug test could therefore still be positive even after a longer period of time. In the event of an incident, the officer in question would be held responsible.

It is also forbidden for police officers, as for any other citizen, to get behind the wheel under the influence of cannabis.

The tests for police trainees won't change despite the new legislation. Cannabis is still defined as a narcotic by law, the police spokeswoman said.

There is no systematic drug testing within the force. "However, in the event of suspected drug abuse or an incident, the officers concerned may face both disciplinary and criminal consequences."

Officers suspended

The two officers who had drugs seized at their homes have both been suspended and criminal investigations are ongoing.

The officer who was found in possession of the larger quantity is suspected of importing and distributing the drug. The man worked at the Gare police station. The second officer also worked there before he was transferred to the north of the country.

The police watchdog was first put on the drug trail during a separate investigation into a case of alleged police violence.

Four police officers from the Gare station have been in custody for almost two months on suspicion of abusing a drunken man in a cell at the end of May and attempting to cover up the incident.

(This story was first published in the Luxemburger Wort. Translated and edited by Cordula Schnuer.)


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