Starting from 15 May 2021, applications for pilot trials on the non-medical use of cannabis can be submitted to the FOPH. The aim of these trials is to provide a sound scientific basis for future decisions on the regulation of cannabis: Pilot trials on the controlled release of cannabis can start as early as May.
Bern, 31.03.2021 – At its meeting on 31 March 2021, the Federal Council adopted the ordinance on pilot trials for the controlled release of cannabis for non-medical purposes. The text specifies the strict conditions under which the studies may be conducted. The purpose of the trials is to provide a sound scientific basis for future decisions on the regulation of cannabis.
As of 15 May 2021, applications for pilot trials on the use of cannabis for non-medical purposes may be submitted to the Federal Office of Public Health. These studies should increase knowledge about the advantages and disadvantages of controlled access to cannabis. In particular, they will make it possible to evaluate and document, within a scientific framework, its effects on the health of users and on consumption habits, and also to measure its impact on the local market for illicit drugs as well as on the protection of young people and on public safety.
Controlled products and risk awareness
In the pilot tests, consumers will be able to legally purchase a variety of cannabis products. The offered cannabis will have to meet high quality requirements and be organically grown. As the supply chains are monitored and strictly controlled from seed to distribution, the black market will be bypassed. In addition to product information, participants will be made aware of the risks associated with consumption by the staff of the sales outlets, who will be trained accordingly.
Strictly supervised pilot tests
The pilot tests will be strictly supervised. There will be strict health and youth protection requirements and a total ban on advertising. The amount of cannabis that participants can buy per month will be limited, its resale prohibited, as will its consumption in public places. Only adults who already use cannabis will be able to participate in a study, minors will be excluded. Participants must also live in the canton where the pilot trial is being carried out. Finally, their health status will be monitored throughout the study.
The validity of the article on pilot projects in the Narcotics Law is limited to ten years. Apart from the pilot trials, the general prohibition of non-medical cannabis remains in force throughout Switzerland.