There is a not-so-quiet revolution going on in Switzerland at the moment. The country is getting ready for what is likely to be Europe’s most disruptive recreational trial.
In the meantime, all sorts of other consequential events are underway. Namely, the government is about to remove the requirement that prescribing cannabis doctors obtain special permission before prescribing cannabis.
The Strange Swiss Twist
Since this is cannabis, no matter where the reform is happening, there is bound to be a twist in all of this.
On the positive side, the cultivation, manufacturing and selling of medical cannabis will be federally authorized, for the first time. Commercial export will be permitted. Less clear are the rules for imports (although it is highly unlikely anyone will ban imports of the EU-GMP medical kind).
In the meantime, cultivation for personal use (of course) is still banned.
Within several months, Switzerland will also begin a unique recreational trial. Namely, pharmacies will be able to sell high-THC products to anyone who has the money to pay for them as long as they are over 21.
The Swiss solution is not as cynical as the Dutch (who allowed insurers to stop reimbursing domestic medical cannabis claims almost as soon as Germany changed the law to mandate that public insurers do so back in 2017).
Cannabis reform is a sore point everywhere, including, if not especially Germany, Europe’s largest medical cannabis market (by far) as well as its most influential, is a hot topic just about everywhere.
One of the largest bug bears in the room, across the DACH region (which of course also includes Austria) is the continued, draconian response of authorities to any kind of cannabis reform. An example of this is the recent disaster suffered by Lidl, one of the world’s largest retailers, in Munich.
In fact, the lack of reform and the ridiculous prosecutions particularly in Germany of late (hemp tea is also a favourite subject), are likely to force at least some kind of reform in at least Germany. Add to the equation a general loosening of the restrictions in Switzerland, along with what seems already to be a smoother if not more sensible plan for cultivation and manufacture, and the Swiss looked primed to take the lead in Europe, if not the DACH on all things both medically and recreationally reform inclined if not minded.
According to Dr. Francis Scanlan, the CEO of Cloud 9 Switzerland, a Life Sciences company about to launch its own THC Swiss chocolate bar after pioneering the entry of his product as the first CBD edible to be starting sales in Dubai, the change is not only welcome, but also overdue.
“This is a very rational, albeit progressive, move in response to the acceptance by the majority of stakeholders in Swiss society that cannabis is a legitimate medicine that truly helps patients while potentially reducing healthcare costs as well as generating tax revenues,” Scanlan said. “What is happening in Switzerland for prescription medical cannabis and our new recreational Pilot Program is very admirable and should be seen as a pragmatic approach to regulating a far too long stigmatized plant across the world.”