Continuing the great series “Switzerland and cannabis distribution pilot projects” initiated in 2016. By a vote of the National Council by 100 votes to 85 to enter into the matter, the Swiss Parliament will soon be able to study the details of the implementation of an experiment in the distribution of cannabis for adult use.

Not a first step towards legalization

“The situation is as follows” summarized Alain Berset, the Federal Councillor in charge of the case. “More than 200,000 people use cannabis in Switzerland every day; all indications are that this number is expected to increase, repression is not effective and the black market is flourishing. The current response is therefore not satisfactory and new avenues must be found, but the law prevents it. Do we want to accept the problem without doing anything or thinking? »

The pilot projects currently involve the cities of Basel, Bern, Geneva, and Zurich. In each, up to 5000 current cannabis users will be able to legally purchase cannabis for the experiment. THC limit will be 20% and participants will not be able to buy more than 10 grams of pure THC per month, or 50g of cannabis at 20% THC. The trial should not last more than 5 years, extendable for 2 years.

Supporting pilot projects

Alain Berset had to reassure the conservative Swiss right on the subject: “This is not a step towards liberalization. The tests are planned over five years and the article is valid for ten years to make a scientific assessment of these experiments. This should provide a solid basis for further legislative development. This is a terrain we do not know; caution is required and strict conditions have been established. »

The majority of Swiss cantons and political parties have already expressed support for the principle of pilot projects and several cities have also expressed interest in conducting such tests. The draft must now return to the National Council’s Public Health Commission, which had previously refused it, which is why the National Council was only able to vote this morning on the introduction. The Commission will have to work on it again before Parliament has the opportunity to study it article by article.

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