The next big thing or repression as usual?

The ever-growing legal cannabis market is often referred to as “the next big thing” in the USA. In other words, the business field that will experience a huge boom in the next few years. Does Switzerland want to be part of it or stand on the sidelines?

International development

Decriminalizations and legalizations are becoming more and more concrete across our planet. Now there is the possibility to observe different legalization approaches in vivo. For this purpose, there is a paper from SuchtSchweiz, in which the situations and developments in different parts of the world are compared in many details: “From Rio de la Plata to Lake Geneva, regulation of the cannabis market - new developments” is now already available in its second version; the two authors would like to publish further updates. For those interested in international developments, this report is recommended.

Cannabis dispensary project studies

It seemed as if nothing was going to happen, but Geneva wants to further develop the delivery project in 2015. Former Federal Councillor Ruth Dreifuss is collaborating and contributing her knowledge of heroin distribution. Finally, a permit for this trial is to be obtained from the FOPH (Tagi, 31.12.14, WOZ, 8.1.15). Winterthur is afraid of the costs and does not want to undertake a pilot trial, but would like to participate in the cannabis group (among others the cities of Geneva, Basel and Zurich) (NZZ, 31.1.15).

Ultimately, the dispensary projects could probably look something like this: Geneva, for example, would sell to 30,000 THC users weed and hash in a trial project. This would run for three years and would be a scientific research project. The main questions could be: Can a levy dry up the illegal market? Does a levy lead to a better security situation for the population? Does a levy substantially reduce the burden on the police and the judiciary? Does a levy lead to an improvement in the situation of users? Can problematic users be better reached?

If everything goes well (planning, approval, political decisions, setting up the project), it could start in 2017 at the earliest. There will be a lot of discussions!

Trade and violence

Since the smashing of hemp stores after the turn of the millennium, we have said and written it again and again: More repression means that dealing is associated with more risk and thus socially relegated: Dealers from better off classes stop dealing and instead people with worse to precarious living conditions start dealing. (Because repression cannot eradicate the phenomenon.) Such a relegation is also associated with an increase in the propensity to violence.

Now we see what this repressive nonsense has led to. The shooting in Altstätten (NZZ, 17.2.15) with two seriously injured in the midst of thousands of hemp plants is only the tip of the violence, but an impressive one.

I ask myself again and again how irresponsible the police and public prosecutors are when I hear how they proceed in the field of narcotics. Do they not see the counterproductive results of their actions? They are so obvious that it hurts:

Since the smashing of the hemp stores, since the clearing of the hemp fields outside, since almost every balcony plant is persecuted, there was just less weed, hardly any cheap outdoor self-supply, the price and profit margin increased, high-tech and more expensive indoor became the only option, the professionalism and the money involved became higher, the plants bigger, bigger and more professional gangs formed and thus violent confrontations also increased.

It should be obvious to police and prosecutors that they are directly promoting crime instead of reducing it. They would have to admit for once that they are not getting anywhere with repression, that other, political changes are needed, and refuse to do this counterproductive job. But they go on as if they really don't get it. It's exasperating!

And then the Aargauer Zeitung comes along on 2/19/15 with an interview in which Olivier Guéniat, head of the Neuchâtel police, speaks plainly: “Since the early 2000s, indoor cannabis trafficking has become professionalized in Switzerland and violence has steadily increased … Traditionally, many Swiss were involved in the cannabis business … For a few years, more aggressive players came … These new cannabis growers bring a different background, partly experienced war and cocaine-heroin trafficking … Switzerland's prohibition policy is partly to blame for increasing crime in the cannabis trade. Moreover, it exposes users without protection to a criminal trade … The police fight against the drug has long been lost.” That's why he pleads for state rules in the cannabis market, as there are for alcohol.

Whew! So not all our police and prosecutors are irresponsible after all. I am somewhat relieved.

Yes to legalization

In 20Minuten there was a larger survey on the subject, which resulted in about 19,000 responses about 80% in favor of legalization (18.2.15). Of course, the survey is not representative, but it is impressive. How could this great potential best be exploited?

Last modified: 2024/03/27 08:56

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Legal overview

Shit happens 15 (Summer 2023)

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