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Step by Step, Switzerland Moves Closer to Legalizing Cannabis

Switzerland flag

Just as the European market could not get any more interesting, the Swiss Federal Commission for Addiction Issues has called for cannabis to be decriminalized and the market to finally be regulated. This recommendation comes on the heels of pharmacies kicking of a lobbying effort to dispense cannabis and a parliamentary proposal to start a pilot project allowing 5,000 Swiss citizens to legally use cannabis.

But what exactly does this mean?

For now, it means pilot projects. This includes both recreational and medical access.

Because of this, the Swiss are likely to be in a league of their own when it comes to municipal and medical trials. This will be of great interest to other countries, now trying to emulate the same as the cannabis debate continues to unfold across the continent.

What is interesting about the Swiss experiment, however, is that it will become the first national “trial” system in the region. Further, the trails that are blazed can also start to be copied across other countries.

This is good news for neighbouring Germany. Activists have continued to hammer for “trials” in Berlin, Bremen and elsewhere. So far, however, the efforts have focussed on things like “home grow” or “recreational trial.” In fact, what the Swiss efforts will do is begin to show how medical trials can be as regional as recreational ones – and in fact may effect more change in the long run, even if at a slower pace.

These issues include everything from resetting insurance polices to HR discussions that have still not been had in either the U.S. or Canada.

While the focus and the hype in other words, is on the idea that recreational reforms are blossoming in Switzerland in the forms of trials, the real heavy lifting will occur in every place medical trials occur that are wide spread and backed by municipal entities.

The Devil If Not Reform Is In The Details

As the Germans are finding out, merely changing a federal law does not really do much good for every day average Germans in practice. See the many problems German patients have experienced in trying to obtain cannabis covered by insurance. Real and lasting cannabis reform will only come when the structural barriers that exist across daily life are wiped away.

It may still not happen here, in other words, like clockwork. But the Swiss are clearly forging ahead in the discussion in a unique way that is ahead of its time if not the rest of its immediate neighbouring geography.

For the latest regulatory and market opportunities opening in Switzerland, be sure to visit the International Cannabis Business Conference in Zurich, May 15-16, a mega-conference event with CannaTrade. After Zurich, the ICBC will be heading back to Vancouver, Canada, September 15-16.  

cannabis, Germany, Switzerland