The four areas of hemp policy in the summer of 2019

The pilot tests are in the parliamentary phase, the facilitations for hemp medicine before the consultation round, a hemp law is in parliament (still?) without a chance and for the initiative a separate association was founded. There are four central areas in Swiss hemp policy. In this article we summarize the developments of the last months.

Cannabis pilot testing

Details on, 19.021

Since 2005, various cities have repeatedly discussed cannabis trials - i.e. dispensary projects aimed at concretely researching the recreational use of hemp. However, these projects failed because there is no legal basis for them.

Therefore, various proposals for the creation of an experimental article were submitted to parliament (for details, see LI81 and LI82), which resulted in a proposal by the Federal Council in 2018. The consultation report on this was presented at the end of February 2019, at the same time the dispatch on this amendment to the Narcotics Law (NarcA) was presented. The Federal Council proposes to insert a new Article 8a, which would suspend the general ban on cannabis for ten years for such pilot trials.

However, the amendment to the law is very brief. The whole thing will only become really concrete in the ordinance of the Federal Council. This exists as a preliminary variant - it can and will probably still be adapted.

But first of all, the parliament must approve this NarcA amendment. The parliamentary consultations have begun: At the beginning of May 2019, the National Council's Commission for Social Security and Health (SGK-NR) agreed to the Federal Council's proposal, albeit only narrowly by 12 votes to 9 with 2 abstentions. The plan is to discuss the bill in detail after the summer session (June 2019). Subsequently, the National Council will have to decide on it - there, too, it is likely to be close (once again).

If someone takes part in such a trial, he or she is more of a guinea pig than a responsible consumer. If we read the message of the Federal Council from the point of view of the consumers, the following choice of words stands out: In the trials, the health status of the participants is to be monitored and mandatory participation in a prevention measure can also be prescribed. Problematic consumption is to be recognized early in the dispensaries - and then intervened. Such users are to be recruited for therapy. Ultimately, abstinence is to be promoted and those affected are to be involved therapeutically. The state of health should continue to be monitored after the end of the trial.

Quote from the dispatch (BBl 2019, page 2558): „By monitoring the health effects, the probability is increased that persons with problematic cannabis use are brought to treatment.“

If such trials were to be approved, can we recommend that interested parties participate? We'll have to look closely, because the tone tends to suggest that participants may not be prosecuted, but may end up in therapeutic medical treatment. After all, „problematic consumption“ is certainly not defined by the test persons.

Facilitation for hemp medicine

Since 2011, sick people have been able to obtain products containing THC, but only with an exceptional permit. The procedure is cumbersome and the costs are not necessarily covered by health insurance. This status is a source of irritation for many: Sick people, doctors, relatives. Thus, CVP National Councillor Ammann, also out of personal concern, demanded in the Blick of 3.4.19 that an exceptional approval from the FOPH should no longer be required, but that a doctor's prescription for narcotics should suffice. This will probably also be the basic idea of the proposed amendment.

At the end of June 2019, the FDHA is to deliver the consultation draft ordered in 2018 to the Federal Council. Subsequently, the Federal Council will conduct the consultation on the topic (only after that can the parliamentary deliberations begin; so this will still take time). However, the whole issue is quite complex; the Federal Council's July 2018 report „Cannabis for the Seriously Ill“ was already 54 pages long.

Hemp out of the NarcA

A separate hemp law has been demanded in parliament on several occasions, so far without success. The following issues are currently pending:

Heinz Siegenthaler (BDP): „Equal treatment of cannabis and high-proof alcohol“, 18.3150

Beat Flach (GLP): „Legalize cannabis and generate tax substrate for AHV/IV“, 18.4009

⇒ Further, the Federal Commission on Narcotic Drugs (EKSF) published several reports on cannabis in April 2019. It has (once again) called for cannabis to be legalized rather than prohibited and for a regulatory model to be established in which the cantons also have a say and which is intended to achieve the protection of the population and the control and regulation of the market by means of ten principles. The effectiveness of prohibition is questionable and has negative side effects, the cannabis market is large despite prohibition and consumption among young people is widespread.

However, this commission is only advisory and can not initiate any change in the law (more:

From 2016 to 2018, a working group in our association Legalize it! did preparatory work for a new popular initiative. In the process, we have repeatedly discussed whether a separate association should be founded for this special project. After some clarifications, this has now happened. At the end of 2018, the association Legalize it! handed over the project initiative to the new association Cannabis Consensus Switzerland (CCS) and transferred the surplus of the project to them (19'042 francs).

At the beginning of 2019, the CCS was founded and a general assembly was held on May 8, which approved a first budget and elected the board. It will now take some time for the new body to structure itself. We will continue to participate in this project as far as possible (see related LI83, page 11).

Last modified: 2024/03/27 08:56

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