Autumn 2008: A lot will be decided on 30.11.2009

The referendums on the hemp initiative and the partial revision of the Narcotics Law are underway. The outcome of these two important votes will shape Swiss drug policy for the next decade.

Our position on the hemp initiative

The demands of the hemp initiative are essentially also ours. We want to achieve a legal handling of THC - an acceptance of the hemp initiative would make this possible.

As a reminder, the text of the initiative is to be anchored in the Swiss Federal Constitution as Article 105a:

  1. The consumption of psychoactive substances of the hemp plant, as well as their possession and acquisition for personal use are exempt from punishment.
  2. The cultivation of psychoactive hemp for personal use is exempt from punishment.
  3. The federal government issues regulations on the cultivation, production, import and export of, and trade in, psychoactive substances of the hemp plant.
  4. The Confederation shall take appropriate measures to ensure that adequate account is taken of the protection of minors. Advertising for psychoactive substances of the hemp plant as well as advertising for the handling of these substances are prohibited.

The first two points are clear and perfect and could also enter into force immediately if adopted. The third point is more open, but also good, because you can not formulate a detailed model for the trade in an initiative. Therefore, the initiative has left it to the parliament how exactly this trafficking of THC should be organized. Until these general provisions can come into force, a separate law would have to be discussed, adopted and possibly passed in another referendum. On the fourth point: Youth protection measures are also included in our ideas. Advertising, on the other hand, we could certainly imagine, be it for certain products or for consumption. We would also be in favor of more far-reaching solutions. But this is not so important to us, so the advertising ban is not decisive for us (Peter Tosh - “Legalize it! … and I will advertise it!” - might be a bit more critical…). Therefore: YES VOTE. Absolutely. Every vote counts. Yours, that of your friends, love partners, relatives, acquaintances. Vote yes yourself, and get everyone else to do the same. Of course, an acceptance of the initiative would be the political sensation of the decade - and it will be rejected. (Which is a pity, but all issues have to take several attempts over decades to get through). What is important, however, is the percentage of yes votes. If it is below 20%, then it will be enormously difficult to continue. If it is between 20 and 30%, it is a usual defeat of an initiative. If it is above 30%, then one can speak of a positive signal. And anything above 40% would be almost a victory - then you would have to manage a legalization of consumption and the necessary preparatory actions in the next ten years (excluding the trade). So it really is true: EVERY VOTE COUNTS.

Our position on NarcA-partial revision

The amended articles of this bill fill more pages than this Legalize it! has. In summary, we can say: The bill does not bring any improvements for THC users. The possibility to use THC as a medicine remains very vague, but the passing on of joints to under 18-year-olds is criminalized and the hemp plant prosecution is simplified - from this point of view, this partial revision should be rejected: It is just mainly about “abstinence” and “more repression”. But from a political point of view, a “No” would only help the fiercest opponents of a THC-legalization, namely the groups on the right fringe (EDU, SVP), which have successfully taken the referendum against the partial revision. For these people, this revision goes too far, because they don't want any more heroin distribution, but finally repression and more repression and even more repression. And that against heroin users just as against THC users. Politically, one would have to vote yes. But this would mean the final liquidation of a funny peculiarity of Swiss law (“hemp weed for narcotic production”), which has always annoyed the police and the judiciary very nicely. We can't bring ourselves to do that. Therefore, we are in favor of abstention on this issue.

The contents of the hemp initiative (06.106)

  • THC use, as well as all acts necessary for it (purchase, cultivation, possession) are immediately exempt from punishment
  • The federal government is to issue regulations for the trade in THC products (this means that implementation laws are needed here; the authorities have a great deal of leeway in this regard)
  • The protection of minors must be respected
  • No advertising for THC products
  • No advertising for THC use

The contents of NarcA-partial-revision (05.470)

  • Anchoring of the 4-pillar policy (prevention, therapy, harm reduction, repression)
  • Possibly allow THC as a remedy (the exact conditions for this are still unclear), but THC use remains fundamentally punishable by law
  • Definitive legalization of heroin prescription (beyond the year 2009).
  • Replacing the term “hemp herb for narcotic production” with cannabis products (simplification of hemp plant-prosecution)
  • Passing on a joint to a minor is now a misdemeanor
Last modified: 2024/03/27 08:56

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