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Registration Opens For Cannabis Pilot Projects In Bern And Biel

Bern Switzerland

Switzerland is home to a very interesting public policy experiment. In May 2021, an amendment to Switzerland’s Federal Narcotics Act went into effect which permitted adult-use cannabis commerce pilot projects. Eventually, such projects would launch in Basel and Zurich.

In theory, adult-use cannabis commerce pilot projects are designed to serve as a study, gathering data about various consumer-focused areas of commerce at a local level to help national lawmakers and regulators be better suited to craft national policies and regulations.

The projects in Switzerland are limited in scope and size, although for program participants cannabis is effectively legal as long as they stay within the parameters of the adult-use cannabis commerce pilot program that they are enrolled in.

Pilots in Basel and Zurich have experienced no reported issues to date, and the nation’s network of pilot programs is set to expand with registrations opening up in Bern and Biel. Per Nau:

The cities of Biel and Bern have started the pilot project for cannabis distribution. Registration opened on Wednesday, as the University of Bern announced. The study participants are expected to be able to purchase various products such as cannabis flowers, cannabis resin or liquids with different THC and CBD content in selected pharmacies from February 2024.

According to the statement, the names of the pharmacies will not be published due to security reasons. The study will be carried out in the three cities of Bern, Biel and also in Lucerne. A total of around 1,000 participants will be accepted, including around 700 in Bern and 170 in Biel.

For a population of well over 8 million people, the number of participants in Switzerland’s pilot program is not substantial. However, the fact that at least some people are legally purchasing cannabis for recreational use in Switzerland is worth celebrating, and it is great to see that more pilot programs are on the way.

Pilot programs can be a two-edged sword, in that it gives lawmakers an excuse to drag their feet and delay taking meaningful action toward passing national legislation. Whether or not that proves to be the case in Switzerland will take some time to determine.