By Roland Sebestyén
Switzerland’s most populated city will hold its first recreational cannabis trial, in which residents will be able to legally access the drug.
According to Swissinfo, under the trial, Zürich will allow its citizens to buy cannabis products from pharmacies and cannabis social clubs following a parliamentary-approved change to the country’s drug policy.
The aim of the “Züri Can – Cannabis with Responsibility” pilot project is to analyse the impact of regulated cannabis use in a three-and-a-half-year long study, which could provide the basis for appropriate cannabis legislation at the federal level. The trial is set to begin in Autumn, 2022.
If the trial is successful, Switzerland could be among the first countries in Europe to legalise adult-use cannabis.
In a joint statement, The City of Zürich, the Psychiatric University Clinic Zürich and the Zürich Pharmacy Network said: “For years, the City of Zürich and the Psychiatric University Clinic in Zürich have been committed to an objective and low-risk approach to cannabis use.
“In mid-May 2021, changes to the Narcotics Act came into force, which allows pilot tests for regulated cannabis sales. On this legal basis, the Psychiatric University Clinic Zürich, in cooperation with the City of Zürich, wants to research models of the regulated purchase of cannabis and its effects on the health and consumption behaviour of the consumer.
“The Zürich study aims to provide relevant knowledge on the best possible use of cannabis. The study is intended to promote public health, maintain public safety and support the protection of minors.”
Swissinfo reports that one-third of the Swiss population has admitted past cannabis use, and there are an estimated 200,000 regular cannabis users in the country.
Although Switzerland has one of the most liberal drug policies in Europe, in a referendum in 2008, the citizens rejected the proposal that would’ve decriminalised cannabis.
Last year, Switzerland’s National Council approved guidelines for the recreational cannabis distribution scheme. Zürich will be the first city in Switzerland to take part in the scheme, but other Swiss cities – including Bern and Geneva – have also shown an interest.