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Swiss Parliament Passes Motion To Authorize Cannabis Production And Export

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Despite being put on hold due to the pandemic, the Swiss Parliament has passed a motion calling for a change in the country’s cannabis law.

The bill will do several things. The first is to allow the Swiss to export cannabis. The second is to authorize regular doctors to prescribe cannabis directly. Currently, the only “legal” Swiss patients must obtain prescriptions from the Federal Office of Public Health. This is expensive and time-consuming and at present, there are only about 3,000 “legal” patients. It is however estimated that there are over a hundred thousand Swiss people who obtain the drug illegally to treat their symptoms. 

It is expected that the new law will come into effect sometime in mid-2021.

Currently, hemp with less than 1% THC is the only cannabis crop in the country that is widely cultivated. Medical production here, like in other countries, must obtain GMP certification.

A Swiss Trial Project?

While all bets are off about timing, thanks to the pandemic, there will be a Swiss trial project that allows the controlled distribution of cannabis to adults (in other words a recreational trial). The National Council voted in favour of the project last December.

In February, this was approved by a single Parliamentary committee. The project also has to pass the Council of States before it can proceed.

Is Switzerland Waiting For the UN?

There is no telling how many national cannabis legalization projects, particularly in Europe, are waiting for the green light from the UN. The international body delayed the decision on the reclassification and rescheduling of cannabis for 9 months in March, literally ten days before declaring a global pandemic.

Why Is Switzerland Such A Strategic Lever For Change?

Despite being located in the “heart” of Europe geographically, the Swiss are not part of the EU. This technically means they are not bound by any European decisions on the drug, made from Brussels. 

What this new law will mean, presumably when it comes into force next year, is that Switzerland could zoom ahead of even Luxembourg, which has already announced that it will enable full cannabis reform by 2022. With export legalized, this means that Switzerland could overtake Holland as the single largest cannabis exporter in Europe, on both the medical and recreational side within two years.

There are other contenders vying for that prize of course, both within and without the EU. Denmark, which is also not an EU member, could vie for this business. 

This development could also move the needle of reform in Brussels, changing the ability of EU members to proceed. 

Everything, however, seems to be resting on the UN’s pending decision in December.

The International Cannabis Business Conference will be returning to Europe. Check the blog for the reinstated schedule.