Switzerland to start recreational trial program

Switzerland is experimenting with the legal sale of cannabis for recreational purposes

The latest recreational cannabis trial program in Europe is set to begin in Basel, Switzerland this summer. The Swiss authorities have given the green light to a trial of legal sale of cannabis for recreational purposes. As part of this pilot project, which was approved yesterday, a few hundred people in the city of Basel will be authorized to buy cannabis in pharmacies for recreational purposes.

The Federal Office of Public Health said the idea behind this pilot project is to better understand "alternative forms of regulation", such as regulated sales at official sellers.

The cultivation and sale of cannabis is currently prohibited in Switzerland, although the public health authority acknowledges that the use of this drug is widespread.

They also noted that there is a significant black market for the product, and survey data indicates that a majority of Swiss support a review of the country's cannabis policy.

The program will only affect around 400 people, who will be able to purchase recreational cannabis products from select pharmacies. However, participants will be "questioned regularly" throughout the study about their mental and physical health. The cannabis will be produced by the Swiss company Pure Production.

The lower house of the Swiss Federal Assembly has approved for the first time two years ago a bill relating to this trial program. Experts called the Swiss program not only a milestone, but also a symbol of the slow pace of legalizing recreational cannabis in Europe.

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Europe often looks to “trial programs” for medical and recreational cannabis rather than full legalization and regulation. These programs are often mired in delays and bureaucracy. The latest example is the Dutch pilot program to allow the limited cultivation and distribution of recreational cannabis, which has suffered another major delay.

Switzerland releases details on recreational marijuana experiment, but full legalization will likely be a few years away…

The Swiss experience should be seen as an important lesson for companies wishing to invest in the adult consumption sector in the European cannabis market for the next few years.

The rest of europe

Companies eyeing short-term gains from Europe's nascent cannabis sector, including plans for recreational sales, may be disappointed.

Indeed, companies often enter new medical markets in the hope that a larger recreational market would soon develop.

These leaders must keep in mind that Europe is different from North America, the experts agreed.

No country in Europe has indicated its intention to mix medicinal and recreational cannabis in the same framework or to give medical marijuana suppliers access to adult consumers.

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Moreover, there are few signs that full legalization of recreation is on the way anytime soon on the continent.

The Netherlands, like Switzerland, has a limited experience with recreational cannabis. Both should provide evidence for a future debate on full legalization. But that's years away. The Dutch program should start in 2023, meanwhile, the experiments risk stalling the legalization debate while the trials are underway.

Luxembourg is set to become the first country in Europe to fully legalize the production of recreational cannabis, as promised by its current government in its coalition agreement at the end of 2018.

However, the promise has yet to materialize by significant official measures.

There are many examples of political parties in Europe, including Germany, supporting recreational legalization, but for now, no legalization bill is expected to be approved.

In Germany, several regional authorities have applied to the federal government for permission to conduct experiments with recreational marijuana. But the requests were denied.

However, this is something that could change quickly, and it cannot be ruled out if the current situation changes quickly.

Tags : EuropeLawrecreativeSwitzerland

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