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Cannabis legal and free transportation: the route to luxembourg to modernity

Over the years, Luxembourg has been known as the sewer for the missing millions in income tax of multinational corporations. The sump is far from being closed,

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Cannabis legal and free transportation: the route to luxembourg to modernity

Over the years, Luxembourg has been known as the sewer for the missing millions in income tax of multinational corporations. The sump is far from being closed, but the landing of the liberal Xavier Bettel in 2013, prime minister with the support of socialists and environmentalists, has brought a new narrative to the country, a prosperous State of 600,000 inhabitants —a little more than the city of Malaga— with a bottom surface of the province of Álava, wedged between Belgium, France and Germany.

If, during the first mandate of Bettel was approved same-sex marriage or were drastically reduced subsidies to the religious communities, the menu legislative for the second has not decayed: The Government has committed to decriminalize the production, and to legalize the consumption of cannabis for recreational use, leave it to charge for the use of all public transport including train, bus and tram, and to raise the minimum wage to 2,100 euros —the highest in the EU—. As icing, authorize two more days of vacation per year. "With the 100 euros to buy cannabis for smoking in the two days of holiday", fantasized a user in social networks.


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The ambitious social agenda may surprise in a traditionally catholic country where abortion and euthanasia are also legal. The Church is pragmatic and focuses its work in the defence of the rights of refugees above battles ethical. The opposition to the reforms has been virtually non-existent. Suffice it to say that the law of homosexual marriages began to be arranged with the center-right Government of Jean-Claude Juncker.

The own prime minister, Xavier Bettel, 45 years of age, did not take long to make use of her: she married her husband, the belgian architect Gauthier Destenay, two years after it entered into force. Next to the irish, Leo Varadkar is the only head of Government homosexual of the EU. "We are very Benelux in the moral sphere," says Diego Velázquez, a journalist for the Luxemburger Wort. The netherlands and Belgium, the other two members of that club, are characterized by social policies more ground breaking compared to the rest of european partners.

From the Government explained that the gratuity of public transport responds to social criteria, and environmental improvement of the traffic. That is to say, there will be economic savings, less emissions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and an increase in the use of trains, trams and buses that will lighten the hellish traffic jams that shut the drivers for hours. On paper, the move seems perfect, but his critics do not see so clear. The price of the transport was already very affordable prior to, and free for young people and low-income people. There is nothing to guarantee that those accustomed to use the car to go to stop by save a few euros. And the fact that some 190,000 workers resident in Belgium, France and Germany to cross every day the border makes it unlikely the decongestion of the roads.

"it Is a gift poisoned", says Mylène Bianchy, president of the union Syprolux. Although it may seem hard to believe, your organization is favorable to keep the payment. The argument that the most vulnerable sectors are already exempt from scratching the pocket, Bianchy sum other: jeopardy is the work of the reviewers, the number of ticket offices will be reduced and this will make it more difficult for them to acquire tickets international to neighbouring countries, and the State will enter € 30 million a year at a time when they need new investment to increase the capacity of the saturated network luxembourg, designed for a country with an economic activity much lower.

The model of the free total has already been tested in other cities such as Tallinn, capital of Estonia, where the public transport trips grew annually between 4 and 5%, but did not decrease the number of cars. In Luxembourg there were 100 million trips on the public network, the mobility in 2016. "The law puts in danger the punctuality, the comfort and the reliability of the transport. And we fear that the free access right that is not respected, and increase in cases of vandalism", he argues Bianchy.

The discourse of opposites is presented as an aesthetic change, without real impact to the pocket. The cost of living has driven thousands of people who prefer to live in nearby towns of Belgium as Arlon, more economic. In Luxembourg, living two parallel worlds: a private sector nourished of strangers and one public purely local. The openness of the luxembourg is less clear when it comes to work. In 2015, 78% voted against granting voting rights to foreigners. They feared that it would be the first step so that they could compete with them in positions of officials.

Still there is no fixed date on which passengers can board trains, trams and buses without passing per box. It is also not known on the day that the coffee shops will begin to be filled with the dense smoke of the marijuana. Just know that it will be at some point in the five years of the legislature that Bettel is in front. For those who are thinking in going to the inauguration, bad news: only residents in Luxembourg will be able to buy cannabis. "We don't want that kind of tourism," zanjan Government sources.

The examples of Canada, Uruguay and the Netherlands

The trickle of countries which lift restrictions on the recreational use of cannabis is on the rise. A little over a month and a half, Canada became the first country in the G-7 in legalizarla. Before, Uruguay agreed to leave in the hands of the State the production, distribution and sale, and allowed its marketing in drug stores. In the Netherlands from the age of 18, it is possible to acquire in a coffee shop up to 5 grams of hashish per day for personal use. In Amsterdam, they also sold to foreign tourists, in the rest of the country depends on each municipality. The model of luxembourg intends to legalize its production and recreational use for residents, but is still to be determined.

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