Could Switzerland be the next country in the emerging wave of Cannabis legalization? According to an announcement by the Swiss government, the European country could soon be following in Canada’s path with plans of relaxing Marijuana laws in the European country underway. The government has currently been allowing low potency marijuana for medical use since 2011. To be able to access the drug for medical use, one is required to obtain an exemption from the federal health ministry.
The government plans to make it easier to access cannabis for both medical and recreational purposes. This is because of the increasing number of Marijuana consumers in the country with the total number estimated to be 200,000. About 40% of males and 33% of females have tried cannabis at least once. Most of these consumers get the product from the black market making it hard for the government to monitor and regulate.
The government’s attempts to control cannabis use in Switzerland have been unfruitful with the efforts costing the state 883 million Euros every year. According to the president of Pharmacy Association in Zurich Valeria Dora, legalizing cannabis would help the government crackdown on the black market which is believed to generate 600 million Swiss francs annually. This will also ensure that marijuana users are provided with safe regulated products.
The move has been received well by expert across the country with many suggesting that pharmacies take over the distribution of cannabis. Unlike the black market, pharmacies are totally capable of quality assurance. apart from the fact that the government gets to save the money previously used to regulate cannabis, experts suggest that the government imposes tax on the product as well as commercialize its farming.
In July last year (2018), Switzerland’s federal Council announced plans to permit scientific trials to cannabis use in the country. The government reached this decision after discovering that more and more people were consuming cannabis despite the strict laws. This put its citizen at risk as the quality of the product obtained through the black market could not be guaranteed. This permission came after several failed attempts by cities and institution seeking to be allowed to carry out the studies.
Legalization of cannabis will also ease accessibility by people intending to use it for medical purposes. The current regulations make such access difficult and at times may lead to delayed treatment of about 3,000 patients who currently use it for medical purposes.