Switzerland is officially launching a trial version of a legal recreational cannabis market on May 15. The Swiss Federal Office of Health noted that the trial is intended to “provide a scientific basis for the future regulation of cannabis”.
This will then make Switzerland the first country in Europe to allow a legal supply chain for cannabis for adult use.
The pilot program follows on from an amendment to the Federal Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Act passed last September. The adopted regulations provide a legal basis for conducting scientific pilot trials related to cannabis.
The trial includes 5.000 registered participants, who have proven to the federal government that they already use cannabis.
For the trial, cannabis must be organic, produced in Switzerland and no more than 20% THC contain. The packaging must use the Canadian company's model, ensuring that product packaging is child resistant, contains safety warnings and that the cannabinoid content of the products is clearly labeled.
The country's federal public health office went on to explain that the current cannabis bans are nearly useless, as "despite this ban, consumption is high, the black market is flourishing and the safety of users is not guaranteed."
According to some estimates, there are approximately 500.000 adult cannabis users in Switzerland. In 2012, the country abolished criminal charges for small possessions – those caught with less than 10 grams will only have to pay a fine of CHF 100 (€90). The sale of 'light' cannabis with less than 1% THC is already legal in the country.