Is it time for legal cannabis in Switzerland? Swiss authorities think so. Last year they amended the Federal Narcotics Act allowing cannabis legalization pilot trials. Unlike the American States like Colorado or even places like Canada, there will be no widespread legalization yet. The Swiss authorities are running this trial program on 400 volunteers. These volunteers are already cannabis consumers.
In Switzerland, cannabis is illegal, but authorities tolerate low amounts with a $100 fine. Hemp is 100% legal.
Justifying the Legalization of Cannabis in Switzerland
Swiss authorities will control the cannabis used for the pilot trial. It must be organic, produced in Switzerland, contain no more than 20% THC, and come from a pharmacy. Like Canada’s legal regime, the Swiss are taking a zero-tolerance approach to marketing and advertising.
And like Canada, the Swiss are eyeing up legalization for nonsensical reasons. Legalizing cannabis in Switzerland is ethical because individuals everywhere have a right to their own bodies. But, as the Federal Office of Public Health put it, “the black market is thriving, and users’ safety is not guaranteed.” Therefore, they must legalize cannabis to protect people from themselves.
Details of The Pilot Trial
The pilot trial will be taking place in the city of Basel. The volunteers will be able legally to purchase cannabis from a pharmacy. The cannabis will be grown by Pure Holding AG, a Swiss firm with a legal exemption. The researchers will also regularly question the volunteers on their consumption habits and mental health. The authorities and researchers consist of the Swiss government, the University of Basel, and the University of Psychiatric Clinics.
They expect the pilot trial to run for 2 1/2 years.
Volunteers will have access to four different cannabis strains and two types of hashish. Ten pharmacies have been selected in Basel to dispense the products. The Swiss authorities will fix prices between $8 and $12 per gram, depending on THC levels.
The Road to Swiss Legalization
So when will legal cannabis in Switzerland become a thing?
Switzerland already has a heroin supply program. The Swiss introduced the program in 1994. It has successfully changed the perception of heroin addiction from a criminal act to a mental health issue. The goals for the cannabis trial are different, however, as the pilot trial aims to test the waters of a broader legalization effort.
An estimated 55% of Europeans support legal recreational cannabis.