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A Limited Number Of People Can Now Buy Recreational Cannabis In Switzerland

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A public policy experiment is underway in Basel, Switzerland where a limited number of adults are now permitted to purchase adult-use cannabis from regulated outlets as part of the nation’s cannabis commerce pilot program, commonly referred to as ‘Weed Care.’

Cannabis commerce pilot programs are not a new concept in Europe, however, getting one to a point where consumers are actually making purchases has proven to be a very heavy lift for various jurisdictions on the continent.

Arguably the biggest pilot program failure thus far in Europe can be found in the Netherlands, where a pilot program has experienced delay after delay. As it stands right now, the pilot program in the Netherlands is not expected to launch until 2024 at the earliest.

Fortunately for a limited number of consumers in Basel, Switzerland, they are now able to make legal purchases. Per Watson:

In Basel, the first participants in the regulated cannabis delivery in pharmacies obtained their legal portions of substance on Monday morning. 374 people aged between 18 and 76 are taking part in the “Weed Care” study in two phases.

The first study group of around 180 people has been able to obtain various cannabis products from nine Basel pharmacies since Monday, as the Basel Health Department announced on Monday. An ID card issued for the study entitles you to purchase it.

The goal of a pilot program is to help policymakers and regulators gather information at a local level in order to, in theory, be better suited to pass reform and regulation measures at a national level.

Some cannabis advocates have pointed to pilot programs as being a double-edged sword of sorts, in that while it does permit some legal commerce, it also possibly pushes larger reform out too far into the future.

Switzerland will serve as a great example of that potential phenomenon and it will be interesting to see if Switzerland eventually abandons pilot programs for nationwide reform once Germany legalizes. Legalization in Germany will presumably occur well before the slated end of the pilot program experiments in Switzerland.