Switzerland is launching a series of legal cannabis trials to study the effects of legalization on cannabis usage patterns. The first trial will launch in the Swiss canton of Basel City, and will include as many as 370 participants over a two-year trial period. Trials in Zurich and Lausanne will follow in the coming months. Cannabis will be sold in pharmacies and specialized outlets.
The canton of Basel City is launching the first pilot trial for the sale of cannabis for non-medical purposes in Switzerland. The project, which will launch on September 15, was announced last Thursday and will see 370 people participate for more than two years.
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Medical Cannabis Currently Authorized in Switzerland
In Switzerland, only the sale of cannabis for medical purposes is currently authorized, as well as the sale for non-medical purposes when the THC content (the psychotropic substance in cannabis) is less than 1%.
However, hashish is prohibited regardless of its THC content. Cannabis consumption is nevertheless widespread, and the black market is flourishing, according to the Federal Office of Public Health (OFSP).
Trial to Provide Switzerland with “Lessons” in Controlled Cannabis
The FOPH has decided to authorize pilot trials for the controlled supply of cannabis for non-medical purposes in order to provide lessons on the effects of controlled access to cannabis.
In particular, Switzerland will be interested in looking into the health of consumers, their consumption habits, or even the black market, with the aim of defining future legislation based on scientific evidence.
First Trials to Take Place in Basel-City
The first trial is taking place in the canton of Basel City, which has named its pilot program “WEED CARE.” Switzerland also plans other trials in Zurich and Lausanne in the coming months.
“Registration for the study is open as of today,” said the canton of Basel-City in a press release. About 370 people can participate in the project, which will end in March 2025.
Trial participants must be of legal age, have already used cannabis, and be domiciled in the canton.
Six Products to Go on Trial
Six products – four products in the form of dried cannabis flowers and two other products made from hashish – will be sold in nine pharmacies, each with a different THC/CBD content.
The Basel authorities indicate that the price will be similar to that of the black market, between 8 and 12 Swiss francs (between 8.20 and 12.40 euros) per gram.
Throughout the study, participants will be regularly questioned, among other things, about their cannabis consumption habits and their physical and mental health.
Products to Be Sold Through Pharmacies or Specialized Outlets
In Basel City, the products will be sold in pharmacies, while Lausanne has chosen to sell them at a specialized point of sale. According to the Federal Office of Public Health, surveys have shown that a majority of the population in Switzerland is open to the idea of fundamentally rethinking cannabis policy in the coming years.
On June 22, the Swiss government had already approved the lifting of the ban on cannabis for medical use, in order to facilitate its access to patients who will no longer need to ask the authorities for an exceptional authorization for its prescription by a doctor.
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