Europe’s First Legal Cannabis Dispensary Gets Final Approval by Swiss Regulators

The first legal — albeit experimental — cannabis dispensary in Europe received final approval last week from Swiss regulators; the dispensary was approved as part of a study on the retail of adult-use cannabis.

Full story after the jump.

Europe’s first legal, albeit experimental, cannabis dispensary last week was given final approval by Swiss regulators. The dispensary, run by the Sanity Group and the Swiss Institute for Addiction and Health Research (ISGF), received approval to conduct a study on the controlled dispensing of cannabis to adults by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (BAG).

The study, titled “Grashaus Projects” is scheduled to launch later this year, and cannabis will initially be dispensed through a flagship shop in the municipality of Allschwil, with another location in Liestal to follow. Sanity Group is the only German company participating in the Swiss pilot projects, which aims to learn more about the effects of controlled access to cannabis in an effort to provide a solid scientific basis for possible decisions on future cannabis regulation in Switzerland.

In a statement, Prof. Dr. Michael Schaub, Scientific Director of the ISGF, who will lead the study, said its insights “can contribute to an informed health policy discussion on the responsible use of cannabis and serve as a basis for decisions on long-term regulation.”

“In addition, we want to investigate whether we can gain better access to high-risk users with, for example, mental health problems, in order to refer them to appropriate cantonal care centers.” — Schaub in a press release

Finn Hänsel, CEO of Sanity Group, said the study’s results “will be of international interest.”

“Our ambition to support the ISGF pilot project with our knowledge and experience as an internationally positioned cannabis company is primarily based on the promotion of research in the field of cannabis,” he said in a statement. “Since the company was founded, our goal has been to further research the benefits of cannabis and destigmatize the plant. Together with the ISGF, we are developing concepts for safe sales based on health protection, youth protection and prevention.”

Up to 3,950 healthy adults living in the canton of Basel-Landschaft will be able to participate in the study. Schaub explained that study participants will be given a participation card to obtain cannabis from the dispensary. Participants will be continually surveyed every six months on their consumption behavior, and physical and mental health.

All cannabis products will be produced according to the quality requirements of the Controlled Dispensing of Non-Medical Cannabis program and the organic guidelines in Switzerland by the Swiss cultivation partner SwissExtract. Prices for cannabis flowers are said to range between 8 and 12 Swiss francs (USD$8.85-$13.28) depending on the THC content.

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