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Switzerland lifts ban on medical cannabis

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The Swiss government announced on June 22 that it will lift the ban on medical cannabis, according to an amendment to Swiss drug law approved by Parliament in March 2021. According to French press agencyThe government “intends to facilitate access to cannabis for medical use for patients.”

“The decision to use a drug from cannabis for therapeutic purposes is up to the physician, in consultation with the patient,” the government said of the amendment. From August 1, patients will no longer be required to obtain permission from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). However, the sale and consumption of cannabis that is used for adults will still be illegal.

in Switzerland, Medical cannabis is only allowed for patients with doctor’s approval, or the pre-required approval of FOPH. However, medical cannabis is still only allowed if the drug contains less than 1% THC, and is licensed. Currently, Sativex is only approved for patients’ prescription.

Federal public law institution of the country, Swiss Medicwhich is responsible for the “licensing and supervision of therapeutic products” including cocaine, methadone and morphine, could eventually be directed to run the cannabis industry in the future.

Back in 2019, FOPH Issued nearly 3,000 permits For cannabis patients with a variety of medical conditions. However, the federal health team described this process as a “boring administrative procedure.” “Patients should be able to access these medications without excessive bureaucracy,” she said.

In September 2021, the Swiss government approved a recreational cannabis experiment called “Zuri Can”. It is expected to start this summer. There was one caveat, requiring only “experienced users” to apply, and this was verified by testing hair samples rather than urine or blood tests. The pilot program will be held in Basel, Switzerland, and will analyze results from 400 people who will be approved to purchase recreational cannabis from designated pharmacies.

Also in June 2022, new A study conducted by the University of Geneva and EBP, a consulting firm, has explored the benefits of full cannabis legalization. According to the results of the researcher, approximately 56 tons of cannabis are consumed annually in Switzerland. Based on this data, annual revenue from cannabis sales for adult use could total up to 582 million Swiss francs (CHF). Industry can generate 0.06% of the country’s economy, which is roughly the same contribution as Appenzell Innerrhoden, the country’s smallest canton in terms of population and area. Legal cannabis can also create up to 4,400 full-time jobs, compared to Swiss accident insurance, which has around 4,200 employees.

Ultimately, as we have seen in other countries, there are many benefits to creating a regulatory framework for the legalization of cannabis. Study author and research associate at the University of Geneva’s Institute for Social Research Dr. Oliver Hoff explains that it is time for the Swiss cannabis laws to receive an update. The simulation shows that the current form of organization produces [an] economically inefficient result” Hoff said in a statement. While artificially high profit margins enable illegal actors to generate generous profits, consumers suffer from insufficient transparency regarding products and quality. The healthcare system and preventive measures have difficulty reaching consumers with problematic consumption patterns and the state lacks access in terms of regulatory, financial and public health initiatives.”

FOPH’s Head of Policy and Enforcement, Adrian Gschwend, also provided a statement about the timing of this study. “The study comes at exactly the right time as the National Assembly’s Social and Health Care Committee recently initiated a legislative proposal on the legalization of cannabis,” said Gschwind. The results show that both the existing illicit market as well as the free trade market impose costs on the public while individuals generate significant profits. Thus we need a well-regulated market that ensures protection for children and adolescents as well as measures to protect health.”

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