Switzerland to allow pilot studies to ease ban on marijuana

Switzerland to allow pilot studies to ease a ban on marijuana, its government said on Wednesday.

Switzerland, which already allows low potency marijuana, bans cannabis for recreational use. However, it is allowing some pilot studies to ease its laws to make it more accessible for people who are sick to find a proper medical marijuana treatment.

Swiss medical marijuana patients are required to obtain an exemption from the federal health ministry. However, the government admits it is difficult for the approximately 3,000 patients who need medical marijuana.

The government tasked the Swiss Interior Ministry to come up with a proposal by next summer to streamline the process, and the Health Ministry to examine how to resolve insurance reimbursement issues for treatment with medical marijuana, Reuters reported.

Switzerland on recreational use of pot

The Swiss government also admits that about 200,000 people in Switzerland are regular users of recreational marijuana despite the ban.

“Although current laws forbid its consumption and seek to punish it, this number is not declining,” the government said.

“At the same time, the black market is flourishing, and the safety of consumers cannot be guaranteed due to a lack of quality control.”

Since 2011, Switzerland has allowed low THC cannabis.  While sales have taken off in recent years, bringing good tax revenue, some users criticize “marijuana-light” as simply being not strong enough.

Studies to test models for regulation

The seven-member Federal Council, which serves as Switzerland’s government, said in a statement that studied to test different models for regulators will take places in several cities and cantons in the European country.

“The scientific pilot studies would be limited and restricted to specific areas,” the government said.

“Participant numbers would also be limited, and minors would be excluded.”

A consultation on the pilot study proposal will run through Oct. 25 to take comment from interested parties.