From August 1, the Swiss law on medical cannabis will be officially launched. This news is the result of the modification of the Swiss law on narcotics, which the Federal Assembly of Switzerland adopted almost a year and a half ago. The ban on medical cannabis was lifted by the Federal Council in June.
From August 1, patients who use medical cannabis will be able to obtain prescriptions directly from their doctor, without having to request authorization from the Federal Office of Public Health (OFSP). The amendment also allows the export of medical cannabis, provided that authorized companies seek approval from Swissmedic, which is responsible for “the authorization and monitoring of therapeutic products”.
In a press release, the Federal Council said the change was prompted by increased demand.
“Until now, cannabis for medicinal purposes could not be cultivated, imported or transformed into preparations without an exceptional authorization. The treatment of patients with cannabis-based medicinal products exempt from authorization was only possible with exceptional authorization from the FOPH and only in justified cases,” the Federal Council said in a press release.
“The demand for such permits has increased in recent years. This treatment of deadlines is administratively complex and no longer corresponds to the exceptional nature provided for by the law on narcotics. The Federal Council has therefore presented Parliament with an amendment to the law aimed at abolishing the ban on cannabis for medical purposes, which was passed in March 2021. A prescription for narcotics will still be required for these drugs. »
Currently, Switzerland only allows CBD products with less than 1% THC, and recreational cannabis will remain illegal. However, Switzerland is in the process of launching its pilot cannabis program in Basel, in the north of the country, in partnership with the University of Basel, its psychiatric clinics and the local government.
The program will allow approximately 400 people to purchase cannabis for recreational use in September. Over a period of two and a half years, participants will answer questions about their mental and physical health. For the purposes of this study, cannabis will be provided by Pure Production.
In addition, a study entitled “Züri Can – Cannabis with Responsibility” is about to be approved, with the aim of examining the effectiveness of medical cannabis. The study was initially announced in September 2021, and on June 28, the researchers confirmed that they had sent their request to the FOPH and the cantonal ethics commission. There is currently a waiting list for those interested in this study, with a total of 2,100 authorized participants.