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Switzerland Medical Cannabis Law Goes Live August 1

Starting on August 1, Switzerland’s medical cannabis law will officially launch. This announcement is the result of amendments to the Swiss Narcotics Act that the Federal Assembly, also known as the Swiss parliament, made nearly one year ago. The Federal Council lifted medical cannabis prohibition in June.

On August 1, patients who use medical cannabis will no longer need permission from the Federal Office of Public Health in Switzerland (FOPH) to receive prescriptions. The amendment also allows for the exportation of medical cannabis, as long as authorized companies seek out approval from Swissmedic, which is responsible “authorization and supervision of therapeutic products.”

The Federal Council released a statement stating that increased demand led to the changes. In this translation “BAG” is an abbreviation for Bundesamt für GesundheitOr the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health.

“Up to now, cannabis for medicinal purposes has not been allowed to be cultivated, imported or processed into preparations without an exceptional permit. Treatment of patients with cannabis medicinal products that were exempt from authorization was only possible with an exceptional permit from the BAG and only in justified cases,” the Federal Council said in a translated press release. “The demand for such permits has increased in recent years. The administratively complicated delays treatment of this case does not match the Narcotics Law’s extraordinary character. The Federal Council submitted an amendment to the March 2021 Narcotics Act law that would remove cannabis from medical use to Parliament. A narcotic prescription will still be required for such drugs.”

Switzerland currently allows CBD products that contain less than 0.1% THC. However, recreational marijuana will still be illegal. The pilot cannabis program for Switzerland will be launched out of Basel in the north of the country, in partnership with the University of Basel and its psychiatric clinics as well as the local government.

According to an April 2022 announcement, the program will enable approximately 400 individuals to buy cannabis for recreational use sometime between September and November. The program will allow participants to answer questions related to their physical and mental health. It is expected that the process lasts for two-and a half years. Pure Production will supply cannabis to this study.

Additionally, a study called “Züri Can – Cannabis with Responsibility” has been nearing  final approval, with the goal of examining the effectiveness of medical cannabis. In September 2021 the initial announcement was made. Researchers confirmed on June 28 that they have submitted the application to FOPH and Cantonal Ethics Committee. There’s currently a waitlist for people interested in this study, with a total of 2,100 participants allowed.

Another recent study confirms that cannabis demand is on the rise. A study conducted by the University of Geneva’s Department of Sociology and a consulting company called EBP Switzerland, entitled “Economic effects of current and alternative regulation in Switzerland,” found that cannabis legalization could be valued at $1.03 billion and bring 4,400 jobs to the country. Adrian Gschwend of the FOPH is the Head of Policy and Implementation and explained why this important data was collected. “The study comes precisely at the right time as the commission for social and healthcare issues of the national assembly has recently started a legislative proposal regarding the legalisation of cannabis,” Gschwend said, according to “The results show that both the current illicit market as well as a liberal commercial market inflicts costs on the public while individuals generate big profits. A well-regulated marketplace that protects children and teens as well as provides health protection measures is needed.[s].”