Basel to trial selling cannabis for recreational use
Basel-Stadt is set to be the first Swiss canton to sell cannabis for recreational use. The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) confirmed that it had given the green light to a pilot scheme that would analyse the effects of legal cannabis on the city.
Trial to explore how cannabis legalisation in Switzerland would work
Currently, cannabis is considered an illegal and harmful drug in Switzerland, where consumption is only permitted if the product contains at most 1 percent of the active substance known as THC, or is used for medical reasons. Supplying cannabis is still a criminal act that is targeted by the Swiss police.
The new trial will include 400 participants over the age of 18, who will be able to purchase cannabis at pharmacies and use it recreationally while being monitored by authorities in Swiss healthcare. The project is run by the cantonal government, psychiatric clinics and the University of Basel, and hopes to analyse the effect of decriminalising cannabis and devise methods to combat its spread on the black market.
Swiss cities like Zurich and Geneva expected to trial legalising marijuana
Many other Swiss cities like Zurich, Geneva and Bern have also applied to participate in similar trials, after the government legalised the experiments in September 2020. According to estimates by the FOPH, 220.000 people are regular users of cannabis in Switzerland, even though it remains illegal.
The FOPH said the trial in Basel will provide a basis for how cannabis can be legalised and regulated in the future. They noted that in recent years, many people have warmed to the idea of using cannabis, and the Federal Council wanted to try and reflect that attitude.