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By LeeWEpstein

June 3, 2020


Tests for the distribution of biological recreational cannabis should be carried out in Switzerland. The Swiss National is in favor of this. He specified on Tuesday the outlines of these experiments which could be conducted in large Swiss cities.

In December, the People’s Chamber, in its new composition, had agreed to start work on this amendment to the law on narcotics against the opinion of its committee. The committee had to revise its copy and broadly agreed with the government’s proposal.

States must decide

The dossier could not be dealt with in March, due to coronavirus, and had to be postponed to the summer session. By 113 votes to 81, the National Council accepted the legal basis that the Federal Council wants to create for scientific studies on the effects of controlled cannabis use. The Council of States has yet to make a decision.

The research should make it possible to understand how the market works and to combat the black market. It is also necessary to determine the effects, particularly social effects, of recreational cannabis use. Berne, Geneva, Zurich, Basel, and Biel have expressed interest in these experiments. The models need to be tested before starting the debate on whether or not to liberalize cannabis, explained Pierre-Yves Maillard on behalf of the committee.

You have to be at least 18 years old

An implementing ordinance has already been drafted and it sets a very strict framework. Participation in the pilot projects will be limited to cannabis users aged 18 and over. The participants will have to be closely accompanied and their health will have to be constantly monitored.

For the UDC and part of the center group, safeguards are not enough. The conditions for carrying out these trials should be stricter to avoid health risks, argued Verena Herzog.

Organic and Swiss Cannabis

The National Council has added a single clarification to the Federal Council’s draft. It concerns the origin of the products. They should come from Swiss organic farming in order to benefit Swiss farmers. Very few producers have experience in this area, warned Health Minister Alain Berset. The time needed to obtain such a product is likely to be long, which will delay the implementation of the project.

The proposals of the UDC and part of the PDC have all been rejected. The cantons and communes where the trials would be conducted should have no say, the National Council decided. This procedure would complicate the experiment. The same applies to strict health and safety criteria for the selection of target groups.

THC at 20% maximum

Nor did the People’s Chamber wish to oblige the persons concerned to inform their employers or schools of their participation in these trials. Nor should the right to drive be abolished. The maximum THC value will be limited to 20% and a participant will not be able to obtain more than 10 grams of pure THC per month. Opponents would have liked to increase the limit to 15%.

It is necessary to consume

Only persons who can prove that they are already using cannabis, for example through hair sampling, will be allowed to participate in the pilot tests. The pilot tests will be geographically limited. They should not last longer than five years, extendable by two years on request. The size of the group will depend on the type of trial, but should not exceed 5000 participants.

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