Legal cannabis trial begins in Zurich: What you need to know

Legal cannabis trial begins in Zurich: What you need to know

Local officials in Zurich have confirmed that the “Züri Can - Cannabis with Responsibility” pilot project is now up and running, with places still open for new registrants. The three-year-long scheme allows over 1.200 people to buy marijuana legally from a select number of vendors in the city, and use the drug in private locations or in new so-called Cannabis Social Clubs.

Zurich legal weed trial gets underway

The pilot scheme, approved by the local council (Gemeinde) and city officials in April, will study the impact of legalising cannabis and selling the substance in a controlled environment. Taking inspiration from a similar scheme in Basel, local officials said that they hope the study will “provide politically and technically relevant insights into the best possible way to deal with cannabis.”

As of August 22, those enrolled in the pilot scheme have access to five Swiss-grown organic cannabis products, developed by Pure Production and Swissextract. This will expand to nine in the autumn of 2023, and the prices of said products will be determined by the average cost on the black market - between 7,20 and 9,60 francs per product depending on its THC and CBD content.

Participants able to buy legal cannabis from vendors in Zurich

Participants - as identified by a special ID card sent through the post - will be able to purchase these products at nine pharmacies and, in what will be a familiar term for those following the legalisation of cannabis in Germany, six "Cannabis Social Clubs." This number will expand to 21 supply points in the next few weeks.

Once the weed is purchased, people signed up for the scheme will be able to consume the cannabis in private settings or at the aforementioned Cannabis Social Clubs. Bear in mind that consuming the drug or buying it from outside licenced locations can still land users in hot water with the Swiss police.

Who can apply to be part of Züri Can?

So far, around 1.200 people aged between 18 and 80 years old have signed up to take part in the study, 80 percent of whom are men. However, authorities in Zurich confirmed that applications are still open to those who fit the following criteria:

  • Must live in the city of Zurich - as defined by the 12 districts or “Kreis
  • Must have already consumed cannabis regularly for over a year
  • Must be 18 years old or older
  • Must have a good understanding of German
  • Must not work as a professional driver (chauffeur, bus, taxi, etc.)
  • Must not be pregnant

Once through the application process, participants are then able to purchase cannabis legally. Their reflections on the experience will also be monitored regularly via online surveys. 

Supporters hope trial will lead to drug liberalisation

Züri Can - Cannabis with Responsibility is set to be the largest legal cannabis trial in Swiss history, with supporters hoping the results of the three-year scheme will convince officials to further liberalise drug laws across the country. For more information about the scheme, visit the official website (in German).

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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