Switzerland’s first legal cannabis dispensary is set to open by year-end as part of a pilot project aimed at studying regulated non-medical cannabis sales. The pilot study, starting in the fourth quarter of 2023, will track consumption patterns and health impacts, with locally produced cannabis products by SwissExtract, and aims to influence international cannabis research and policy.
Switzerland is set to open the first legal cannabis dispensary in Europe by the end of this year, within the framework of the country’s sixth adult-use cannabis pilot project.
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Pilot Project Approval and Launch of First Cannabis Dispensary
The Swiss Research Institute on Addictions and Health (ISGF) and Sanity Group have received the final approval from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) to conduct a pilot study on cannabis in the canton of Basel-Landschaft, following last year’s green light from the Ethics Commission of Northwestern and Central Switzerland (EKNZ).
Up to 3,950 adults living in the canton will have the opportunity to participate in the study, which aims to examine the regulated sale of cannabis for non-medical purposes through a legal cannabis dispensary.
This marks the sixth adult-use cannabis sale pilot project in Switzerland that has been approved.
However, unlike other pilot projects, distribution will not occur through pharmacies or clubs but via a conventional cannabis dispensary.
Europe’s first legal consumer cannabis dispensary is currently being set up in the town of Allschwil. Another store is expected to follow in the coming months in Liestal, where consumers will be able to purchase a variety of cannabis products such as flowers, extracts, hashish, edibles, and vaping liquids.
Gathering Data on Cannabis Consumption
The study is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2023 and will last for five years.
Led by Professor Michael Schaub, scientific director of ISGF, it will record consumption behaviors as well as the physical and mental health of the participants.
“After a preliminary information meeting about the trial and how to manage cannabis, potential participants will undergo a medical fitness test and an online survey,” explains Professor Schaub.
“If participants are accepted into the study, they will be able to legally purchase cannabis at a cannabis dispensary for a limited period using a participation card. Ongoing surveys about consumption behavior and the physical and mental health of the participants will occur every three to six months.”
The societal effects of consumption, particularly on public safety and order, will be analyzed through close exchange and the integration of relevant target groups, such as the public prosecutor’s office.
He adds, “The study’s findings could contribute to an informed debate on health policy regarding responsible cannabis use and serve as a basis for decisions on long-term regulation.”
“Furthermore, we want to investigate whether we can better access high-risk consumers suffering from, for example, mental health issues, in order to guide them toward the appropriate cantonal care centers.”
Locally Grown Cannabis
All cannabis products will be produced according to the quality requirements of the BetmPV and Swiss organic guidelines by Swiss cultivation partner SwissExtract.
Cannabis flower prices are expected to range between 8 and 12 CHF, depending on THC content.
Stefan Strasser, CEO of SwissExtract, said, “Our goal is to provide high-quality products with great reliability on the basis of a solid scientific study. We emphasize organic quality, Swissness, and transparency.”
“As we use only natural substances for growing our raw materials, we guarantee pollutant-free products. At our company, the entire value chain is united under one roof: cultivation, processing, and packaging all take place exclusively in Switzerland; moreover, we document the production process from the plant seed to the final product. SwissExtract is for us a lifetime achievement, with sincerity towards people and the environment.”
Results of International Interest in Cannabis Dispensary Trial
In recent months, Sanity Group, a European leader in cannabis, has worked with regional and national authorities to get this ambitious cannabis dispensary project off the ground.
Finn Hänsel, CEO of Sanity Group, commented, “We are pleased with the approval of the study in Basel-Landschaft and the opportunity to contribute to the social acceptance and knowledge transfer about the Cannabis plant and its multiple uses. Our ambition to support the ISGF pilot project with our knowledge and experience as an international cannabis industry company is primarily based on promoting research in the field of cannabis.”
“Since the founding of the company, our aim has been to continue research into the benefits of cannabis and to destigmatize the plant. In collaboration with ISGF, we are developing safe sale concepts based on health protection, youth protection, and prevention. We expect the study to yield interesting results, which will be of international interest.”
Further information about the cannabis dispensary project can be found at: www.grashausprojects.ch.
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