Switzerland is set to become the first nation in Europe to launch a marijuana sales pilot program. The program, called Weed Care, will help study the effects of the legalization of marijuana. It will be launched officially on Sept. 15, 2022, and will run until March 2025.
Weed Care involves 370 participants based in Basel, the third most populous city in the country. All participants involved in the program reside in the city, are aged 18 and above, and are already consumers of cannabis. Throughout the study period, every participant will undergo regular assessments of their mental and physical health as well as their marijuana consumption behavior.
The country’s Federal Office of Public Health stated that the pilot program was aimed at increasing knowledge of the disadvantages and advantages of controlled access to marijuana and would offer a scientific basis to legalize adult-use marijuana in Switzerland.
The Federal Office of Public Health authorized the marijuana sales pilot program on April 19, 2022. The program will be conducted jointly by the University of Basel, the Department of Health of the Basel-Stadt Canton and the University Psychiatric Clinics. Basel health department’s medical director, Lukas Engelberger, stated that the pilot project was the first in the country, highlighting that prohibition hadn’t caused a drop in consumption, which warranted the need to test new regulatory models.
In an interview, Regine Steinauer, the addiction department head at Basel University, stated that the researchers were focused on finding out whether consumption changed, but they would also look into any physical and mental health changes observed when marijuana was consumed.
After showing their IDs, the study’s participants will be able to purchase two types of hashish-based products and four types of marijuana products from the pharmacies taking part in the study. The pharmacies will sell marijuana-based products based on the price determined by the illicit market, which is between $8 and $12. Products that contain different levels of THC will be produced by Pure Production, which is based in Switzerland.
Levels of THC in hashish products vary between 13%—20% while dried flowers contain a THC level between 5%—7%.
It should be noted that the country’s law prohibits the possession of more than 10 grams of marijuana, which limits study participants to purchasing no more than 10 grams of cannabis products in pharmacies. The law also doesn’t allow the public consumption of cannabis, so participants will have to consume the products in private locations.
When the pilot project registers success and the government fully opens a regulated market for cannabis, entities that have an interest in playing at an international level, such as Flora Growth Corp. (NASDAQ: FLGC), could find themselves with a window to further penetrate the European market.
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