A new plan to legalize recreational cannabis has been launched in Switzerland, which would legalize personal consumption and production of the plant. Plans are also in motion to launch experimental cannabis clubs in Zurich, Basel, Bern and Geneva. As part of a Bern University research project, pharmacies in Bern would be allowed to sell cannabis. A preliminary examination is currently underway to experiment with legal cannabis sales.
Switzerland’s last referendum to legalize cannabis failed in 2008. Since 2013, adults caught with less than 10 grams of cannabis are only fined 100 francs. Low-THC cannabis products with less than one percent THC are also openly sold in the country.
The initiative would add “The consumption of substances and preparations of the type of action cannabis as well as the preparation for own consumption are taut,” to Article 105 of the Swiss Federal Constitution, according to the Swiss paper Tages Anzeiger. Currently Article 105 is exclusively dedicated to alcohol. The Swiss Confederation would adopt regulations on cannabis cultivation, production and trade. The Confederation also plans to levy a consumption tax on cannabis products which are intended for recreational purposes. The new non-bipartisan initiative appeals to the federal government by including protections for minors. The four-city cannabis club trial has not yet been approved by the Federal Office of Health.
“We submitted the initiative text on Wednesday to the Federal Chancellery and thus begin the formal process of the preliminary examination,” Nino Forrer, press officer of the Legalize It association told Tages Anzeiger. “The ban on cannabis is wrong from a social perspective, wrong from a legal point of view and simply stupid from an economic point of view.” Forrer argued that the prohibition of cannabis only leads to rampant black market activity.
The wealthy nation could benefit from taxing cannabis sales. Cannabis legalization has been a popular concept in Switzerland for over twenty years. This time, by including provisions for tax and minor protections, the initiative has a chance for success.