NOV. 21, 2014 - CANNABIS LEGALISATION RETURNS TO SWISS AGENDA
In Switzerland, cannabis
is the most frequently consumed illegal drug. About 29% of the
population have used marijuana at least once in their lives,
according to a recent survey. Up to 500,000, or 5.7% of the Swiss
population smoked pot in the past year, thereby committing a
punishable, but minor, offence.
Former interior minister
Ruth Dreifuss, nicknamed “dealer of the nation” for introducing
ground-breaking drug policies, is one of the figureheads of the
country’s legalisation campaign. One of her suggestions is to set
up cannabis clubs, a concept her native Geneva is spearheading in
Switzerland. Larger cities like Geneva, Bern, Basel and Zurich have
created an expert working group to map out the details for a
potential pilot project.
“We need regulation. No
blanket ban, no free-for-all,” said Franziska
Teuscher, responsible for education and social affairs in
the city of Bern. “For me, the only promising way forward is this
pilot project, which will provide facts, not just smoke and mirrors.”
The projects would
scientifically investigate the use of cannabis within the existing
legal framework, according to Markus Jann of the interior ministry.
The federal and cantonal governments are now waiting to receive
details of the projects from cities.
Similar to the United
States where federal states like Colorado and Washington are
experimenting with cannabis legalisation, the Swiss cities involved
want to investigate a local solution because a change to the national
legislation looks unlikely any time soon.