Swiss Government Releases Details On Adult-Use Cannabis Pilot Schemes

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The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has announced further draft details on the plans for legalised supply of adult-use cannabis under pilot schemes. Under the current plan, the pilot schemes can be set up from May 15th 2021 and can run until May 2031 at the latest.

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The Swiss parliament passed regulations in September 2020 which allow for the initiation of pilot schemes wherein adult-use cannabis can be legally produced, imported and distributed to registered users. The FOPH released a draft of the regulation today, the 31st of March, divulging further details on the schemes.

Along with the trial schemes for adult-use supply in The Netherlands, Switzerland will be the first region in Europe to allow for a fully legalised adult-use cannabis supply chain. As explained in the recently released European Report, it is possible several other countries on the continent will soon legalise adult-use cannabis at least on a trial basis.

Below we spell out some of the major points of the new regulations, which will be finalised upon publishing in the Federal Gazette.

Regulation of Pilot Schemes: 

Pilot schemes are set up with the express purpose of acquiring scientific knowledge such as the socio-economic effects of legalisation. They can be instigated by public or private entities, with the participation of a research institute as well as cantonal and local authorities and the approval of the FOPH

  • Pilot schemes are limited to one municipality each and can last up to 5 years with the possibility of being extended for a further 2 years.
  • Initiators of pilot schemes should monitor the health of participants with the appointment of a responsible doctor.
  • Individual pilot schemes can provide cannabis to a maximum of 5,000 registered participants.
  • Intended points of sale must be pre-approved by the FOPH.

Regulation on Participants: 

  • Users must be able to prove they already consume cannabis, prior to entering the pilot scheme.
  • Users must be domiciled in the Canton where the specific pilot scheme is in operation.
  • Users will need to be in possession of a certificate of participation in the scheme to be able to possess adult-use cannabis.

Regulations on Cultivation: 

  • Products must be organically grown, with the definition for “organic” being set out in Swiss Law.
  • Products must be grown in Switzerland insofar as is possible.
  • Products must be grown in accordance with Good Agricultural Practices set out by the European Medicines Agency.
  • Exceptions to the above may be made if the demand cannot be met by products produced under these conditions.

Regulations on Products: 

  • The THC content should not exceed 20%.
  • Products should not contain more than 10 mg of THC per unit of consumption.
  • The cannabinoid contents must not deviate from the reported values by more than 25% for raw flower or 15% for processed products.
  • Unprocessed products (flower), extracts and isolates as well as ingestible products can be permitted in pilot schemes.

Regulation on Packaging:

  • Products intended for ingestion must be in child-proof packaging
  • Packaging must be plain, with safety warnings and information on cannabinoid content
  • Packaging must refer to the Pilot Scheme under which the product is distributed

A PDF of the original draft ordinance can be found here.

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