Cannabis in the public spotlight
Bern, July 5, 2022 – Discussions about cantonal pilot projects and a report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) show once again the urgency of regulating cannabis in Switzerland. Switzerland’s most important industry association, IG Hanf, takes a firm stand on the issue, saying, “Government regulation can positively influence the quality and purity of cannabis, ensure the protection of minors, and prevent problematic use by providing information, advice, and assistance.”
Various Swiss cities are beginning to implement cannabis pilot projects. For example, Basel, Zurich, Lausanne and Bern, to name a few. Since the implementation of the pilot trials is regulated on a cantonal basis, there are differences in the design. In Zurich, the dispensing of cannabis is regulated through pharmacies. Lausanne relies – similar to Spain – on the model of cannabis social clubs as dispensaries.
Resistance in the canton of Bern
In the Bernese government council (canton), on the other hand, there is resistance to the planned implementation of the pilot project in the city of Bern. Pharmacies are not the right place to dispense addictive substances, according to a motion by SVP councillor Patrick Freudiger. The motion was approved by the government council. Now it is up to the Grand Council to evaluate this political proposal. In the meantime, however, the FOPH has called off the government council. The canton has nothing to say about it, says the Federal Office of Public Health.
Hemp association: Pharmacy tax does not make sense
Even if IG Hanf does not agree with the argumentation of the motion makers, it shares the opinion that pharmacies are not the appropriate dispensaries for cannabis as a stimulant. Better would be specialized stores with the appropriate know-how. The fact that the pilot projects are structured differently depending on the canton is to be welcomed, because they serve to obtain scientific data that can serve as a basis for the debate on legalization. For this purpose, IG Hanf has developed a 10-point plan in cooperation with Sucht Schweiz and Cannabis Consensus Schweiz.
10-point plan for Swiss hemp legalization
The aim of the hemp association’s 10-point plan is to combine safety and public health with a regionally based, responsible and sustainable Swiss cannabis economy. It aims to take into account the specifics of the federal structure of Swiss administration and politics, and to generate tax revenue to finance flanking measures. More information:
- protect youth from the negative effects of cannabis use.
- promote the use of cannabis products with low health risks
- educate consumers about the risks
- prevent and punish the practice of certain professional activities under the influence of cannabis
- restrict cannabis in public places and cannabis advertising
- control cannabis production and quality and ensure traceability
- separate market for medical cannabis and market for non-medical cannabis
- sale of cannabis products in specialized shops
- tax cannabis to finance accompanying measures
- regulate cannabis production for personal use
And what do politicians say?
So are politicians who advocate legalization putting Switzerland’s mental health at risk? “No, not at all,” defends center national councilor Heinz Siegenthaler. It is precisely in order to protect health that it is important to legalize cannabis: “Only in this way can we ensure that the end consumer receives a product that has passed a quality control and for which it is clear how much THC it contains. With alcohol, the end consumer also knows how much is in beer and how much is in whiskey,” Siegenthaler says.
For more information, contact: Adrian Erni, 079 464 64 59, email@example.com