federal government recommends establishment of legal cannabis market
The results of three reports integrated into the "Summary Report on Cannabis of the Federal Commission for Addiction Issues (CFLA)" determine recommendations for future regulation of cannabis in Switzerland.
Since the two publications of the CFLD (1999 and 2008) on cannabis, knowledge about the plant and the various cannabinoids that derive from it have evolved a lot. The legalization of cannabis in several countries has enabled the development of regulated markets, the professionalization of production and the diversification of cannabis-based products. Considerable progress has been made in research into the therapeutic use of cannabis, and interest in expanding therapeutic options is significant. Current research data also shows that cannabis use has remained virtually stable in Switzerland over the past decade.
All scientific studies on the risks associated with consumption show that cannabis causes little physical and psychological damage. Risks arise mainly from the consumption of products containing a high percentage of THC, simultaneous consumption of tobacco, use during childhood and early adolescence, and long-term use.
The good work done in prevention and treatment has been confirmed over the past ten years. However, developments and consumption patterns show that it is very important to put in place risk reduction measures for consumers. However, the existing ban prevents the adoption of harm reduction and risk minimization measures, as well as the extension of preventive measures.
The current reports provide a solid foundation for the continuation of the political process and the constructive development of the Narcotics Law. The Federal Commission for Addiction Issues (CFLA) therefore recommends that:
The law on drugs is adapted, so that:
- cannabis use is no longer punished;
- a regulated cannabis market can develop in Switzerland, with controls in terms of concentration of ingredients, production, distribution and sale of products;
- risk and damage reduction measures can be applied.
These measures form the basis for protecting the population, especially children and young people, and establishing a controlled and regulated market.
The CFLA supports the inclusion in the Narcotics Act of an article on pilot projects, as provided for by the Federal Council. However, his recommendations go further. The reports presented and a review of developments in other countries show that the current approach based on the prohibition of cannabis must be reconsidered.
In order to clarify the question of what might be the proper regulation of cannabis in Switzerland with effective protection of young people and consumers, it is necessary to pursue research projects in real contexts and to carefully observe the experience of countries already engaged in this process. Research is essential to provide pragmatic and scientifically based answers to these pressing questions.