A few hundred people in Basel, Switzerland will be allowed to purchase cannabis for recreational use this summer after officials approved the pilot program which was proposed last May. Despite cannabis being broadly outlawed in the nation, individuals participating in the trial will be allowed to buy various cannabis products during the two-and-a-half-year study.
The Federal Office of Public Health said in a press release that the project aims to increase understanding of “alternative regulatory forms” for cannabis that could be the basis for future legislation. The project is a collaboration between the local government, the University of Basel, and its Psychiatric Clinics. Participants will be questioned regularly on their cannabis consumption and on their mental and physical health, the report says.
The program participants will include current consumers that are over 18-years-old. The Office of Public Health said that individuals who divert cannabis from the pilot program will be penalized and anyone doing so repeatedly will be disqualified.
The Health Office indicated that Zurich, Geneva, and Bern have also applied to conduct similar trials, which were approved by the Swiss Parliament in September 2020.
In 2008, nearly two-thirds of Swiss voters rejected a ballot initiative to decriminalize cannabis use. The Office of Public Health estimates there are 220,000 regular cannabis consumers in Switzerland despite federal prohibition, although medical cannabis use is allowed.
A recent poll commissioned by Curaleaf International and conducted by Hanway Associates found that 55% of adult Europeans support legalizing cannabis for adults, with 25% opposed and 20% indifferent. The poll included adults 18-and-older throughout France, Germany, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland, and the U.K. between February 24 and March 14.
Get daily cannabis business news updates. Subscribe