Home News Life No to weed republic: Federation of Addiction Specialists supports regulation of Swiss cannabis policy

No to weed republic: Federation of Addiction Specialists supports regulation of Swiss cannabis policy

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Addiction experts call for a strictly regulated cannabis market in Switzerland with comprehensive health and youth measures.

The Swiss Health Commission (SGK-N) is currently exploring the possibility of revising cannabis policy. A special subcommittee is currently working on a draft law for this review, taking input from addiction experts and others to develop a balanced cannabis policy. The trade association of addiction experts supports the push for a strictly regulated and controlled market, with an emphasis on health and youth protection.

Experts support strict regulation and preventive youth protection

The trade association of addiction experts welcomes the Swiss Health Commission’s efforts to review cannabis policy, they announced in a press release late last week.

It stresses the need for a strictly regulated cannabis market backed by measures that promote health and protect young people.

The association’s experts call for a regulated market with clear guidelines and strict controls to ensure cannabis use is safer and young people are optimally protected from risk.

Legalisation in response to persistent cannabis use in Switzerland

Indeed, despite the cannabis ban in force under the Narcotics Act, cannabis remains the most consumed illicit drug in Switzerland.

Consumption rates have remained stable over the past 30 years. The illicit market does not provide sufficient public health protection, especially for young people.

Experts believe that the central challenges in dealing with cannabis can be better addressed by legalising and strictly regulating cannabis.

Clear guidelines for legal market regulation and youth protection

Experiences from abroad, for example from the US state of Colorado, show that weakly regulated legal markets (according to the trade association) can have negative effects on public health and youth protection, similar to illegal markets. Therefore, clear regulation is sought, allowing for the sale of cannabis on a non-profit basis, similar to the model in the Canadian province of Quebec. This will focus on public health and allow for fair taxation to offset social costs.

Minors would be excluded from the legal market to ensure their protection. Specific measures, such as an outright ban on advertising cannabis products, limited assortment and clear rules on test purchases and bans on minors, would be introduced. Targeted prevention programmes and understandable information on cannabis products would play an important role.

The cannabis policy review initiative also aims to better identify people with problematic use or addiction so that they can receive the necessary support in time. A nationwide, rapid and accessible supply of addiction treatment for affected persons would be an integral part of this model.

All required measures and guidelines for the review of cannabis are available in the position paper of the professional association of addiction specialists.

Earlier approval was given in Switzerland for regulated cannabis experiments in Bern, Lausanne, Basel, Zurich and Geneva. In Basel, they have now started selling cannabis grown in Switzerland for the experiment there. Sales are also expected to start in Lausanne this summer and in Zurich this month.

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