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First Legal Cannabis Dispensaries in Europe to Open in Switzerland

Swiss Federal Office of Public Health greenlights adult-use cannabis pilot projects.




Switzerland’s Basel-Landschaft will host the first legal cannabis stores. PHOTO COURTESY WIKI COMMONS

In a pivotal development for European cannabis policy—albeit outside the EU framework—Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health has authorized the creation of the first legal adult-use cannabis dispensaries.

The “Grashaus Projects” pilot study is on track to start later this year in Basel-Landschaft, aiming to examine the effects of lawful cannabis access. The Swiss Institute for Addiction and Health Research (ISGF) and the Germany-based Sanity Group have secured the mandatory approvals to proceed, building on last year’s endorsement from the Ethics Committee Northwest and Central Switzerland.

The initiative will monitor the consumption patterns and health of up to 3,950 adults in Basel-Landschaft. Participants must pass medical suitability tests and complete an initial online survey to qualify. Once accepted, they can legally acquire cannabis through a participation card at specified sales outlets.

SwissExtract, a local cultivation partner, will produce all cannabis products, with prices for cannabis flowers expected to vary between 8 and 12 CHF, depending on THC levels. “We are committed to delivering high-quality products reliably, laying the groundwork for a credible scientific study. Our focus is on organic quality, Swiss origin, and transparency,” said Stefan Strasser, CEO of SwissExtract.

Sanity Group says it plans to open stores in Allschwil and Liestal, contrary to the typical dispensary model of pharmacies or clubs. Meanwhile, the Swiss University of Bern’s SCRIPT project, Global Cannabis Times reported in May, is set to begin this fall. This separate study, in collaboration with the University of Lucerne and the cities of Bern, Biel, and Lucerne, will evaluate the health and social impacts of regulated cannabis sales through non-profit pharmacies, emphasizing risk mitigation and consumer education.

The “Grashaus Projects” study is slated to begin in the fourth quarter of 2023 and will span five years.




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