Zurich to start testing recreational marijuana use this year
Switzerland’s largest city will allow adults to use marijuana on a test basis from the end of 2022. The outcome of the experiment will affect the whole of Europe.
Switzerland will finally carry out a long-awaited pilot test examining recreational marijuana use.
This was made possible by legislative changes last year. Swiss cities can now create their own marijuana markets, and what’s more conduct their own studies on the impact on citizens and user behaviour.
The project, dubbed Züri Can, will begin in autumn 2022 and will test cannabis products with varying levels of THC and CBD. In order to ensure quality standards, producers must be authorised by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health. The psychiatric clinic at the University of Zurich has taken on the supervision of the experiment.
The Swiss experiment will be closely watched around the world. Also because it is the result of a very rapid turnaround in public opinion and legislation, so that it follows the North American reform by about 7 years. In 2008, almost two-thirds of Swiss voters opposed the decriminalisation of marijuana for personal use.
Positive (and negative) sides of the experiment
At the moment, the public debate on recreational use is negative in the whole DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland), and consequently in Europe as a whole. For this reason, any federal effort to regulate recreational use in these countries can be considered a success.
On the other hand, the plan for the Swiss experiment smacks a little of the lingering stigma of marijuana. Just the fact that psychiatrists are supervising the experiment. And another catch is that only “experienced” users are allowed to take part in the study. What exactly is an “experienced” user will be revealed by hair tests. A potential participant must show that he or she has smoked so much marijuana that it has left traces throughout the body, not just in the urine or blood.
However, the aim of the study is clear:
- understand the dynamics of the legal market
- figure out how to set it up to suppress the illegal market at the same time.
In four years, then, a federally legalized market could evolve from a mere test. This would create the second largest market in Europe, after the Netherlands, although official figures state (for obvious reasons) that there are only 200 000 regular cannabis consumers in Switzerland.
In addition to Zurich, the experiment should take place in the other major cities of Basel, Bern, Biel and Geneva.
When it comes to marijuana for Switzerland, only organic and local
Another catch in the planned study, which could completely change the way marijuana is grown in Europe (including for medical purposes), is that the marijuana must be grown in Switzerland and be of organic quality to be used in the experiment. This means that the Swiss could set a precedent for the whole of Europe, if not the whole growing industry.
The rules on how medical and recreational marijuana should be grown have been the subject of heated debate. It is being debated whether marijuana grown indoors in compliance with the GACP (Good Agricultural Cultivation Practice Rules for the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal use) could be certified as EU-GMP in the processing, extraction and packaging process. The Swiss requirement for organic quality is starting to shed more light on how the whole process should be handled. It could become a regional standard for all EU harvests. A similar debate has escalated in Portugal and Spain in response to medical marijuana imports from Germany.
If indeed this regulatory scheme were to emerge, it would open the way for joint certification of medical and recreational marijuana. This would significantly reduce the price of medical cannabis as well as its carbon footprint.
In a way, then, the Swiss could redefine the industry far beyond their borders in the future.
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Article source : softsecrets
Published by Blood03/03/2022