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Switzerland Moves Forward On More Medical Cannabis Reform


The Swiss Parliament has approved an amendment to the Narcotics Act allowing doctors to prescribe cannabis without special permission and to set up a formal cannabis licensing infrastructure in the country.

Things are looking up for more patient access in Switzerland. Last week the Swiss parliament approved an amendment to the Narcotics Act which will allow doctors to prescribe cannabis more easily. At present, they must still report all cannabis treatments to the Federal Office of Public Health before writing prescriptions. Obviously, this makes the entire process much more burdensome for both doctors and patients.

The Council of States adopted the law last week. 

The bill also regulates the cultivation, production, and trading of medical cannabis.

What Does This Mean?

Switzerland so far has played a highly important role in the development of the overall discussion of cannabis reform. It is outside of the EU, even though it is in Europe. Beyond this, the country is also part of the so-called DACH trading partnership, between Switzerland, Austria, and Germany. This means fast entry into the bloc for cannabis and cannabis products – even though price is still going to be a consideration (generally everything is far more expensive in Switzerland in part because of the country’s existence outside of the EU trading alliance).

Domestically, however, what this means is that the Swiss are starting to increase access to medical cannabis via prescription as the country readies itself for a medical-recreational trial next year, to be run out of the nation’s pharmacies.

This means that all cannabis-related sales that are legit, even for adults without a prescription, are currently being channeled into the pharmacy system.

Impact on The Export-Import Discussion

What Switzerland is in effect doing is creating the first standard for the selling of both medical and recreational use cannabis that is pegged on GMP standards. This is an inevitable result in a world where the only high-percentage THC to cross borders so far (legally at least) has been GMP certified.

However, the implications are huge. While there is not enough GMP product in the room right now for the medical market, this will begin to change as more facilities now become funded and come online (particularly after Covid). What this means in effect, however, is that the Swiss are in the process of creating not only Europe’s first GMP standard market (for everything) but further will attract producers globally looking to sell products to both markets. As a result, this is likely to be a model adopted in newly legalizing states who are also looking at the continued failure of the Dutch project.

For an up-to-the-minute update on changing regulations and European markets, be sure to book your tickets now for the International Cannabis Business Conference’s return to in-person conferences!