Zurich Switzerland

How Many People Can Legally Purchase Adult-Use Cannabis In Switzerland?

On September 25, 2020, Switzerland’s Parliament approved an amendment to the Federal Act on Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances that changed some of the nation’s cannabis policies. The approved amendment paved the way for the launch of regional adult-use cannabis commerce pilot trials in Switzerland.

National adult-use cannabis sales, such as what is currently in place in Canada, is prohibited within the European Union due to EU agreements. However, regional pilot trials involve scientific research and that is permitted within the European Union.

Adult-use cannabis trials are designed to allow limited recreational cannabis commerce at a local level to collect data and other information. That data and information can then be used by policymakers and regulators when crafting national laws and rules.

The “Weed Care” study, which is a pilot project in the canton of Basel-Stadt, started on January 30, 2023. The pilot in Basel-Stadt launched with 378 adult participants. The participants of the trial are permitted to purchase from a selection of six different cannabis products.

The Canton of Basel-Stadt Department of Health recently published its initial data from the trial, stating that “so far 41 kilograms of cannabis have been sold in 8176 purchases.”

“A total of 41 kilograms of study cannabis were sold in pharmacies in 8,176 cases in the first year of the study. The average number of consumption days and the consumption amount hardly changed during the first year of study: the participants consumed an amount of 1.2 g per consumption day on an average of 20 days per month.” stated the Canton of Basel-Stadt Department of Health in a news release.

“67 percent of participants wanted other products in addition to the flower and hash products available. 70 percent wanted so-called edibles (gummy bears, chocolates, etc.), 59 percent wanted THC oil and 43 percent wanted e-liquids. Some of the participants also wanted stronger products with more than the permitted 20 percent THC.” the Department also stated.

Bern, Switzerland recently announced the launch of its cannabis trial. The cities of Biel/Bienne and Lucerne are also involved. Over 1,000 adult consumers from the three cities in Switzerland are expected to take part, and they will be permitted to purchase from a selection of ten different cannabis products.

The largest cannabis pilot trial in Switzerland is located in Zurich where 7,500 participants are taking part. Switzerland has seven trials planned total, and once fully operational they are expected to have roughly 15,000 adult participants combined.

Procedure for cannabis pilot trials in Switzerland

Below is a list of the cannabis trials in Switzerland, and a brief description of each one via the Switzerland Federal Office of Public Health:

Cannabis Research Zürich

The aim of the pilot trial in the canton of Zurich is to investigate the social and economic consequences of legalising recreational cannabis use in Switzerland.

Cann-L – Pilot trial with a sale on a non-profit basis in Lausanne

Project Cann-L is intended to assess the feasibility and the potential impact of a model for regulating the consumption of cannabis through its sale on a non-profit basis in the city of Lausanne.

Grashaus Projects BL

Can the structured, controlled sale of cannabis (with points of sale in Liestal and Allschwil) bring about a change in consumption?

La Cannabinothèque – Regulated access to cannabis in the canton of Geneva

The trial is intended to study to what extent a programme offering regulated access to cannabis may improve knowledge of the substance and its associated issues and concerns and may help reduce the health and social risks that drug consumption usually entails.

SCRIPT – Research on sale of cannabis in pharmacies

The main aim of this pilot trial in Berne, Bienne and Lucerne is to evaluate what impact a regulated not-for-profit sale of cannabis in pharmacies combined with related advisory services may have on cannabis consumption.

WeedCare – Study on the regulated sale of cannabis in pharmacies in Canton Basel-Stadt

This study on the regulated sale of cannabis in pharmacies in Canton Basel-Stadt is examining the effects in public health terms of permitting regulated cannabis sales.

ZüriCan – Study on the regulated sale of cannabis in the city of Zurich

This study will investigate the extent to which regulated sale, supplemented by advice, can enhance both knowledge and behaviour in respect of the lower-risk forms of cannabis, and whether this can be implemented.