Switzerland is to launch a fully legalised adult-use cannabis market in the coming months, as part of a trial scheme to understand the impact of cannabis legalisation in the country.
The move follows regulations passed in September 2020 by The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). 5000 registered participants will take part in the trial, set to launch on 15th May 2021, which will make Switzerland the first country in Europe to permit a fully legal recreational cannabis supply chain.
Participants will be required to prove they are already consuming cannabis to obtain a certificate from Federal Government that allows them to buy and possess cannabis. Cannabis will need to be Swiss produced, organic and contain no more than 20% THC, or 1omg where sold as edibles.
The Swiss trial will also require products to follow similar rules to Canadian packaging, ensuring product containers are child-proof, carry safety warnings and clearly label the cannabinoid content of the products.
The FOPH website states the trial has been approved as the prohibition on growing, importing and selling of cannabis isn’t working, as “despite this ban, consumption is high, the black market is thriving, and users’ safety is not guaranteed.” The study hopes to gain “a better understanding of the effects of controlled access to cannabis on the physical and mental health of users and on behaviour linked to cannabis consumption.”
It is estimated that around 500,000 adults in Switzerland consume cannabis. The country has already removed criminal prosecution for small scale possession as of 2012. Anyone caught with less than 10 grams will not be prosecuted, but instead will face a fine of 100 Swiss Francs (£78). The country also allows the sale of ‘light’ cannabis, containing no more than 1% THC, which can be legally bought over the counter from tobacco stores.