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The
penultimate step before setting up a pilot trial for cannabis distribution?

The
National Health Commission followed the opinion of the National Council and
voted by 17 votes to 8 in favor of a pilot project to distribute cannabis to
voluntary consumers. As the Swiss federal parliament is composed of two
chambers, the approval of the Council of States is now required before any
progress can be made on the subject.

What does this experiment
consist of?

The Swiss
initiative dates from 2016 and aims to propose an experimental framework for
the distribution of cannabis to adult consumers. After many political twists
and turns, with the various commissions and councils voting alternately for and
against the proposal, the pilot project will finally see the light of day.

Participation
in the pilot project will only be open to adults who are at least 18 years of
age and who are already users. The project will be limited to certain cities
(Basel, Bern, Geneva, and Zurich), with no more than 5000 participants, who
will be medically monitored to assess their state of health, and THC levels
will be limited to 20%, with a supply limit of 10 grams of pure THC per month,
i.e. 50 grams of cannabis at 20% THC. The project will last 5 years, extendable
for 2 years.

The
cultivation of cannabis THC will take place in Switzerland and will have to be
organic.

The Swiss
government is said to have already drafted the implementing ordinance, which
sets the strict framework for the project, without any indication for the time
being of a date for referral to the Council of States.

What is blocking it?

The Swiss
narcotics law allows the distribution of controlled substances, for example,
heroin for drug addicts and as part of a social integration program.

However,
the Federal Office of Public Health (OFSP) has ruled that this controlled
distribution is impossible for cannabis. It, therefore, requested a change in
the law to allow these experiments, which should be used to gather data on the
consumption of legal cannabis and its impact on the black market.

This
refusal by the OFSP is at the origin of these 4 years of rebounds. From now on,
the project must go from commission to commission to satisfy the enacted needs
of the experimentation, without addressing the need to change the Narcotics Law
or the ins and outs of legalizing cannabis.

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