Switzerland has authorized additional municipalities to test the legal sale of cannabis to determine its effects on health and society. In Switzerland, two cannabis trials encompassing Bern, Lucerne, and Biel, as well as Geneva, were recently approved.
Adults older than 18 will be permitted to participate in the study. During the first six months of the research, half of the participants will be able to buy cannabis. The announcement of the study states, “the comparison of the fate of people in the two groups should make it possible to obtain study results that are as scientifically rigorous as possible.”
These trials seek to collect data that could inform the government’s future cannabis policy. Switzerland sits at the forefront of decision-making based on evidence.
Switzerland Cannabis Pilot Project Extended To Additional Cities
The Swiss government has authorized additional cannabis pilot initiatives to commence in the autumn. In some locations, individuals will be able to purchase cannabis from select stores.
One of the initiatives will be managed by specialists from Bern and Lucerne universities. It will examine the health and social effects of the highly regulated sale of cannabis for non-profit purposes in Bern, Lucerne, and Biel.
Last week, the Federal Office of Public Health (BAG) approved the 18-month Safer Cannabis Research in Pharmacies randomized controlled trial (SCRIPT). Approximately 1,000 adults over the age of 18 will be eligible to participate, but only 500 of them will be able to purchase cannabis from licensed retailers in the first six months.
Reto Auer, the chief researcher, stated in a statement that the purpose of the Switzerland cannabis pilot project is not to legalize marijuana, but rather to examine problems caused by the prohibition and evaluate harm reduction.
“Dispensing at the pharmacy allows for better information and harm reduction. Users often don’t know what’s in illegal cannabis, like synthetic cannabinoids, pesticides or fungi,” stated Auer.
Without advertising or attractive packaging, the supply will be constrained and the demand will be restrained. Both the Bern Cantonal Ethics Committee and the Ethics Committee of Northwest and Central Switzerland supported the research.
According to Philippe Pfeifer, director of addiction psychiatry at Bern University Psychiatric Services, excessive cannabis use can lead to insanity. He added that, unlike the black market, the sale of cannabis by health professionals enables early detection and counseling.
Auer stated that findings should be used to discuss marijuana policy, and that these studies are an uncommon opportunity to obtain reliable information about various methods to regulate it.
When the studies were authorized, city councilwoman Franziska Teuscher stated, “this way, we gain well-founded and fact-based knowledge for future cannabis policy.”