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Switzerland Legalizes Medical, Puts Cannabis in the Hands of Doctors

Swiss center for public health strips away “tedious administrative procedures” for lawful access to cannabis via physician.




The Swiss government will allow its citizens direct access to medical cannabis through their physician beginning July 1, 2002. The city of Basel, seen here in 2015, will hold a small trial in recreational use this summer. PHOTO COURTESY WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

“Sick people must be able to access these medicines without excessive bureaucracy.”

— Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health

The Swiss government announced today that it will lift restrictions on cannabis for medical use from August 1st 2022, reported Leafie. The cornerstone of the new legislation is physician-prescribed access to cannabis. The decision for cannabis-based medicine now rests with the doctor in consultation with the patient.

Currently, obtaining cannabis treatment requires a permit issued by the Federal Office of Public Health, Switzerland’s center for public health. However, the FOPH itself described the process as “tedious administrative procedures,” causing delays. Approximately 3,000 permits were processed in 2019.

“Sick people must be able to access these medicines without excessive bureaucracy,” the FOPH stated.

The Federal Office of Public Health estimates that the new regulations will benefit thousands, including those with cancer or multiple sclerosis whose chronic pain can be relieved with drugs containing cannabis. Demand for cannabis-based treatments has risen sharply in Switzerland, according to Bezinga.


Legalization of existing market?
In Switzerland recreational use is still prohibited, but the country with a population of nearly 9 million is cautiously measuring steps to full legalization. In June 2022, a recreational-cannabis study conducted by the University of Geneva found — according to High Times — that 56 tons of non-regulated cannabis is consumed every year in Switzerland. Based on the study, legalized adult-use cannabis sales could collect up to $582 million Swiss francs (US$605M) in yearly revenue.

This summer, the Swiss government will further analyze recreational use in a 2 1/2-year study on health and economics, allowing 400 registered citizens in the city of Basel to consume recreationally from dispensaries under a trial named “Zuri Can.”



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