“Züri Can -Cannabis with Responsibility” is the name of a research that will begin in autumn 2022. It will be a trial that will last 3.5 years and it will allow people to buy cannabis in pharmacies and in social clubs.
Pharmacies and social clubs will be the purchase points. Cannabis and cannabis-related products will be available in these businesses. Producers and club owners can already apply for licenses to become cannabis dispensaries.
The main objective of this trial is to study the effects of THC products on users. However, there is more to this research, namely:
Zurich, Switzerland’s largest city, will share this trial with the cities of Basel, Bern, Lucerne and Geneva. A maximum of 5,000 participants per city has been established.
There will be health practitioners doing health checks on every participant and cannabis products will be available in pharmacies and social clubs. These products may not hold more than 20% of THC or 10mg of THC per unit. These units might be unprocessed products (buds), extracts, concentrates, edibles and other cannabis-containing products.
The quality of this cannabis will be controlled by the Federal Office of Public Health. This institution will issue production permits to every producer participating on this trial. Priority will be given to locally and organically produced cannabis.
Cannabis use and possession is illegal in Switzerland. Some facts about the situation of cannabis in Switzerland are:
Every step towards more research on cannabis is always a move forward. This pilot could help move new cannabis legislations at federal level, and not only on the trial cities. And who knows if the neighbouring countries could get some inspiration and start rethinking their own take on cannabis.
On the other hand, it is important to acknowledge the risks of a black market at health and social scales. If cannabis stays illegal in Switzerland but there is still users, we are criminalizing these citizens. This carries devastating social consequences to them and their families. Additionally, the products they use will come from a black market and will not be controlled and be thus potentially harmful.
We are pretty confident that the conclusions of this trial will be very positive in terms of public health, social progress and economic benefits. Our hope is that this research will not stop after 3.5 years and that it will represent a starting point for new Swiss laws on cannabis.