Medical Doctors in Switzerland may soon be able to prescribe medical cannabis to registered patients without going through the existing tiring process of seeking authorization from higher bodies. Swiss cannabis clubs are also part of some tourist’s Swiss vacations.
Cannabis has been banned in Switzerland and other European countries as far back as the 1950s. Any form of cannabis reform either medically inclined or recreationally inclined is a welcome development.
Switzerland; The CBD Hub of Europe
Existing cannabis laws in Switzerland permit the production of hemp. Other types of cannabis are prohibited. The legal cannabis industry has developed considering that it only produces hemp with at most 1% THC. This hemp is mostly used by the Swiss for medical reasons.
Recreational cannabis is still banned throughout the country. The last time this law was revised was in 2012, it decriminalized the possession of a certain amount of cannabis. Individuals found with the drug are not arrested but rather fined.
Medical Cannabis became approved when the Federal Act on Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances (NarcA) was revised in 2008. The revision was adopted by the popular vote and was thereafter implemented in 2011. The revised act permits doctors to prescribe legal medical cannabis products to a registered patient for a year.
Medical Cannabis Use In Switzerland
In Switzerland, cannabis is only approved for wellness purposes. Only one drug, Sativex, has been approved by the health department and doctors have to seek permission from the country’s federal office of public health before they can include the drug in a patient’s prescription.
In 2019, the country’s Federal Office of Public Health approved only 3,000 authorizations. They granted this to terminal patients and patients in immense pain.
Some of the patients issued authorizations suffered from multiple sclerosis (MS), cancer, or neurological pathologies.
According to Wikipedia, only two pharmacies in Switzerland are licensed to distribute medical cannabis products. Asides from epidiolex, patients can be given cannabis tinctures and cannabis oil concentrates. The law does not permit patients to be prescribed cannabis resins or cannabis flowers.
This process has forced many patients to depend on the black market for their cannabis products rather than sticking to the legal pathway.
Swiss lawmakers are considering steps to improve the existing cannabis laws. They have decided to start by broadening and facilitating more access to medical cannabis.
This would cancel out the need for obtaining exceptional authorization from the federal health department.
A change in the current system will make medical cannabis available to everyone that needs it without discriminating with the severity of their symptoms. Many will have hope for relief and a shot at having a semblance of normal lives.
Changing the Swiss National Narcotics Act
The Swiss are now more accepting of cannabis than they were in the past. This has led to underground discussions and meetings being held to challenge the Swiss lawmakers to modify the NarcA. Recently, the underground rumblings are becoming a full-fledged revolution to demand a recreational cannabis trial.
In response to all the happenings, the government is set to remove the clause that states physicians must first obtain permission before treating a patient with cannabis.
On September 1, 2021, the Swiss Federal Council, which includes the seven-member executive council that functions with the federal government of the country and its head of state, began deliberations on how to change the NarcA.
The council acknowledged that if the NarcA is changed this way, doctors will be able to practice cannabis wellness treatment without feeling restricted.
The plan is to make cannabis a controlled narcotic
Switzerland has a special relationship with Germany and Austria, They also share a common language. It is no surprise they are trying to control cannabis the same way the other two countries are.
The three countries also have a special trading alliance known as DACH. This is where a strange twist comes into play.
The government has plans to begin recreational cannabis trials across the DACH border at ICBC Berlin, Germany. The location was selected because the panel at ICBC is one of the most attended panels by German politicians. It is still to state how this will play out when the experiments start in some months because cannabis reform is a very sore topic in Germany and Europe.
If the experiments are successful, pharmacies will be able to dispense THC-rich cannabis products to adults who are at least 21 years old.
The likelihood of any of this happening is still hard to phantom because authorities across the DACH region have always been hostile to proposed cannabis reforms. Just recently, Lidl suffered for proposing one of such. Lidl is one of the world’s largest retailers based in Munich.
Is Switzerland taking the lead for cannabis reforms in Europe?
The proposed relaxation of Narcotics laws in Switzerland may or may not be sufficient to influence Germany to consider any kind of cannabis reform. This means Switzerland may be positioned as the lead cannabis industry if the act is modified.
The Swiss have put plans together for the cultivation and processing of cannabis plants into medical and recreational cannabis products. It would also take the lead in the DACH alliance for the export of medical and recreational cannabis.
Entrepreneurs like Dr. Francis Scanlan, Cloud 9 CEO are enthusiastic about the latest developments. Cloud 9 is a Switzerland life sciences company that is set to launch a THC Swiss chocolate bar in Dubai. Dr. Francis said that the cannabis reforms are long overdue in Europe. He noted the proposed modifications mirrored the wishes of the majority of Swiss residents.
According to Dr. Francis, the recent happenings are pragmatic approaches that can successfully regulate cannabis in the country while helping patients in pain and reducing health care costs.
The country also stands to gain a lot in tax revenues from the sales of cannabis within and outside the country’s borders.
Cannabis has been tested and proven in various countries around the world to provide immense relief to patients. It is truly a legitimate drug.
The Swiss proposed cannabis reform programs would unlock more economic growth in the country.
Remember, all these moves are still proposals and Cannabis is still illegal. You risk being fined or arrested if caught with cannabis within Swiss borders.
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