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Swiss City of Lausanne to Launch Recreational Cannabis Trial This Fall

Cann-L (or Cannabis Lausanne), the four-year recreational cannabis trial, will be launched by the end of the year, according to municipal councillor Emilie Moeschler who spoke to the press on Tuesday, “In Lausanne, as in other cities, cannabis is very present … It is essential for cities to launch such experimental studies to address the issue in an objective and dispassionate way,” he said. He also stressed that the city “has already shown, in 2018, its interest in a pilot experiment with the federal authorities in order to change its policy in this area.”

This city, which is on the verge of becoming the second largest in the country following Basel and will soon be able to begin a recreational cannabis test. Bern, Geneva and Zurich are all currently developing their own projects. These five cities were allowed to move forward by the amendment to Federal Narcotics Act, May 15, 2021.

Lausanne: Similar, But Different

Cann-L will run a special store that sells allowed products in Lausanne. Unlike German-speaking parts of the country which have chosen to use pharmacies for the trial, Lausanne’s entry into the conversation will be more like the Spanish idea of a cannabis club.

All hemp sold in the facility will have to meet two requirements—being both grown locally and produced in organic environments.

The facility will be monitored by the police, which will identify and separate legal cannabis from illegally-sold products.

Public consumption is prohibited, as well as customers not being allowed to resell their products.

Pricing has been designed to match the black market—namely flower will retail for between 10-13 francs per gram. Participants are not allowed to buy more than 10g per month.

Customers (students) must have permanent residence in Lausanne. They also need to use cannabis regularly. Eligibility for participation can be found here—although the project is not yet accepting applicants. The city as well as Addiction Switzerland (chosen to conduct the scientific aspects of the trial) will submit their plan to the canton’s ethics commission and the Federal Office of Public Health by the end of May.

The study is expected to cost around $390,000 per year—or about $1.5 million over the course of five years.

The Swiss Trials: The Effect

The dispensary-first and pharmacy first models of recreational reform are both being tried in Switzerland, which is evident from the varied approach taken by the cantons. It all begins in Germany. This country shares a border with Switzerland, and Austria, as well as a special trade agreement called DACH.

The Swiss are expected to receive data by December 31, which will undoubtedly influence discussions in Germany about how individual states should be able to decide how their recreational reforms will play out in their jurisdictions.