Pilot tests on track, but what can they deliver?

A real legalization is not yet a topic in parliament. At least the bill for the pilot tests has been passed by the National Council (before the elections, this almost failed). The Council of States will probably approve it. And then?

Cannabis Pilot Projects

The debate in the National Council

In June 2020, the National Council debated the bill on pilot projects. The vote was taken 13 times. This was because the opposition, especially from the SVP, had diligently introduced amendments. They wanted to include elements in the bill, many of which would have made the implementation of the pilot projects more difficult or practically impossible. National Councilor Flavia Wasserfallen (SP) rightly called these amendments “pilot project killers.

These minority motions wanted to declare the Federal Council responsible for the authorization instead of the FOPH; to introduce ominous health and safety criteria; to include only Swiss hemp in the bill instead of Swiss organic hemp; to inform the employers or schools of the participants; to force the issuance of the driver's license for the participants; anyone who became ill because of cannabis use or who used other illegal drugs would not have been admitted; the maximum THC content should have been limited to 15%; participants should not have been dependent on social welfare or received an IV pension.

But all these motions were rejected after the discussion, with 112 to 122 to 70 to 80 votes (some with single abstentions) quite clearly, after all.

The center parties (CVP, EVP, BDP) brought in that no federal funds should flow for these projects. This motion was also rejected, here the vote ratio was somewhat tighter with 107 to 86.

During this discussion in the National Council, we experienced two more or less fixed blocs with very different world views. Above all, the doggedness of the minority against any change to the status quo, even as modest as these pilot projects, is irritating. This strongly suggests that, if the deal now also passes through the Council of States, they will seriously consider a referendum.

In the final vote, the bill was approved in the National Council by 113 votes to 81 (0 abstentions). Let's take a closer look at the distribution of votes this time as well.

Final vote on cannabis pilots in the National Council (June 2, 2020).

Group for this against it Abstentions
SP 39 0 0
Green 29 0 0
GLP 16 0 0
FDP 16 10 0
Center 12 18 0
SVP 1 53 0

We see the old pattern confirmed in hemp votes: SP, Greens and GLP united in favor; the FDP split, but rather in favor; in the center fraction some yes votes, but majority rejection; the SVP as usual in the opposing camp, although this time at least one SVP national councilor dropped out.

Now it's off to the Council of States

The matter is now before the Council of States. The Commission for Social Security and Health of the Council of States discussed the business on August 10 and 11 and approved it by 8 to 4 votes. However, it wants unanimously and unlike the National Council that not “exclusively” Swiss organic hemp may be used, but only “if possible”. Now the Council of States is dealing with the bill. At the time of going to press, this was scheduled for September 9, 2020.

➡ Details on parlament.ch, 19.021

Standstill or a step forward?

On the one hand, this is really not about solving the cannabis issue. It's just about enabling some studies and then in ten years we could discuss further: so blockade for another decade? On the other hand, it is the only way that at least a few thousand people could get clean weed legally during a few years. Otherwise there is nothing comparable: so at least a step forward?

Other political projects

A hemp law of its own!

The pilot projects are only very limited in terms of time and number. A real legalization or even a decriminalization is of course something completely different. A separate hemp law has been demanded in parliament on several occasions, so far without success.

Two bills had/have this as a goal:

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

Another proposal that was buried without a sound: It is considered “done”, but not in the sense of being processed or even implemented, but in the sense of “written off” (i.e. waste paper), because it was not dealt with in the Council within two years.

What a pity, this proposal could have been a starting point for something really new.

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

This deal is still pending, but it faces the same fate as the previous one: Soon the two-year deadline will have expired. However, it is possible that a new parliamentary initiative in this direction will be submitted at any time.

A popular initiative is a big project in which many people have to be involved. Also due to the pandemic, this topic has not progressed quickly. However, various discussions and clarifications are taking place. Anyone who wants to help with this is welcome to get in touch.

➡ Info and subscription to the newsletter at www.cannabis-consensus.ch

Online petition: Not punishable shall not be punishable

The petition of Ruth and Silvia Zwahlen has been extended until October 31, 2020. It is about limiting the prosecution of the consumers. Anyone who would like to sign it is cordially invited to do so. More info: www.hanfmuseum.ch/politik

➡ The petition to sign can be found here: The petition to sign can be found here.

Last modified: 2023/12/22 21:16

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Legal overview

Shit happens 15 (Summer 2023)

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