The “Weed Care” pilot project in the city of Basel was to be launched today and intended to supply 370 people with cannabis for 2.5 years. It was put on hold because traces of pesticides were found in some of the supposedly organic plants.
Basel’s health department said the delay could last several weeks or even months, as the products now have to be retested by an independent body.
Six products – four types of cannabis flower and two types of hashish – were to go on sale in nine pharmacies starting this week.
The Federal Office of Public Health approved the pilot project last April as part of a project led by the University of Basel, its psychiatric clinics and the cantonal health department.
It should make it possible to assess the effects of the new regulations on the recreational use of cannabis and, ultimately, to combat distribution on the black market.
Several other local authorities, including Zurich, Biel, Geneva and Bern, have also applied to conduct similar trials. The Swiss Parliament laid the legal foundations for such small-scale initiatives in September 2020.
The Basel pilot, which will allow 370 people to participate in the sale of approved products, received 700 requests to participate.
Basel health officials will now consider options, including other products from the same or other vendors.