At least, a little freedom!

For a minimal but rapid decriminalization of cannabis, in which cannabis users are taken seriously and can decide for themselves.

Initial assessment of political developments

It isslowly becoming more likely that certain steps towards legalization could also be taken in Switzerland.

The Federal Council does not want to discuss this further until 2031: The cannabis pilot projects and their results are to be awaited. However, two years ago, the sub-commission of the SGK-N began working with the administration to draw up a draft for a new approach to cannabis in Switzerland.

The sub-commission probably wants to work out a larger project (otherwise results would have emerged after two years). But such a comprehensive legalization project has various problems: dealing with international treaties, anchoring taxation in the constitution, drawing up the entire regulatory catalog - there is a lot to do. And it remains highly questionable whether this will achieve a majority in parliament, in a referendum and also among the cantons.

Legalize home cultivation at all costs!

Above all, it seems that there is no great desire to legalize home cultivation, as well as non-profitable joint cultivation. Instead, it seems to be heading more towards state distribution via pharmacies, with perhaps two or three large cultivation companies. We don't think that's good. Consumers should also have a say and be allowed to produce something!

We have now been able to gain initial experience in the Zurich city pilot project, where we run one of the cannabis social clubs, the Hanfstübli.

Cultivation and sale are strictly separated. Every packet of cannabis and all participants are meticulously recorded. The varieties (nine) and the suppliers (two) are specified, as are the purchase and sales prices and also the place where the study participants are allowed to buy (they are not allowed to switch between the various pharmacies and clubs). It is therefore a very rigid system. At least you can gain experience and sell tested, legal goods to the study participants. That certainly has its value.

However, you can also see here that a setting, which is so heavily restricted by the state, would ultimately not be a good solution:

  • If the requirements for a participation are very high, this deters many users (e.g. compulsory registration, precise state recording of all purchases).
  • If every cannabis package has to be meticulously recorded, the dispensary has a disproportionately high workload (e.g. time-consuming investigations in the event of errors; especially if the IT systems used are inflexible).
  • If varieties are requested by consumers but are not on offer, it is impossible to change this independently with fixed specifications.

Why is that not enough for us?

We want consumers to be seen as full members of this society - and to be treated as such.

Cannabis users should not be treated as maneuvering masses that can simply be decided upon. We can decide for ourselves which varieties are good, how they should be grown and processed, and what we want to consume. We want this freedom and this independence!

A major legalization bill has a good chance of failing. And in this case, it is unlikely for any advancements to happen for at least another ten years. We see the need to move forward in small steps, which can then successfully find majorities and come into force.

And even if a major legalization bill were to be introduced, we want it to protect the personal freedom of consumers: for home cultivation to be possible, regardless of the chosen model of sale (state agencies, pharmacies or licensed stores). We want this minimal freedom under all circumstances, regardless of what other changes there might be.

What do we really want?

1. Decriminalization of consumption

The decriminalization of consumption (which is still punishable in Switzerland) and the possession of 100 grams for personal use. Both can be solved in the current NarcA: Simply list the impunity of the consumption of cannabis products and increase the already currently unpunishable, minor quantity from 10 to 100 grams.

2. Home cultivation

No punishment for cultivation of up to 100 grams. This would allow most consumers to produce and consume their stimulant legally. Especially those users who consume in moderation, and who do not experience any adverse effects or cause any problems.

3. Joint cultivation

Joint cultivation could be tolerated depending on the canton (public prosecutor's offices, police), provided that no more than 100 grams per member of such a cultivation association are produced per year and distributed without profit. Joint cultivation is more efficient than cultivation alone and it is easier to produce several varieties. It is also a social undertaking: Consumers can and must develop a culture in this way.

What culture do we want?

Laws can certainly provide certain guidelines. But ultimately, the consumption of psychoactive substances is only good and socially acceptable if there is a culture around it, i.e. if people develop a practice in which consumption is organized, and the consumers carry minimal risk for themselves and pose low stress to society as a whole.

For example, alcohol consumption in restaurants, with age control and social control, would be an acceptable example. Alcohol consumption on the street, bought in 24/7 stores at the lowest price, with vomiting and urinating in doorways is an unacceptable example (even if this can be done legally today).

We want cannabis users to have a connection to their stimulant. Home-growing and communal cultivation seem to provide a very good basis for this: It is your responsibility. Discussing the varieties, effects and the development of a decent approach to cannabis at the association can also help to develop a culture that promotes sensible use.

This is not just meant in theory, but in concrete terms:

  • If someone wants to consume, there is a very specific responsibility when passing on (assessment of the other person, indication of the strength of one's own material, no co-consumption if it is unclear).
  • If someone has produced cannabis biscuits, this applies to a stricter degree (no passing on without information, no passing on to inexperienced users, if passing on take responsibility for the effect, i.e. stick to it etc.).
  • Smoking produces emissions and can be very disturbing to the neighborhood. Eating or vaporizing cannabis does not produce smoke that could disturb others. There are now very good vaporization variants that are also much less harmful to the lungs.

A law cannot enforce this culture; it can only succeed if the consumers themselves develop and live such a culture. To do this, however, they must first get out of crime and be able to organize themselves. Then a positive culture can emerge: Role models who deal with cannabis in a sensible way.

Can consumers do that?

We have been organizing and advising users at Association Legalize it for 33 years. The vast majority, well over 95 %, have a problem-free consumption and handle their stimulants responsibly. Many have grown flowers or produced hash themselves. It really is not witchcraft!

For some months now, we have been selling cannabis to study participants as part of the pilot projects. Here too: These are normal people with jobs, families and a sense of responsibility. Yes, you can actually expect consumers to grow and organize themselves. We don't need a meticulously prescribed state procedure and comprehensive controls. Nor do we need a few large companies to grow it for us without disclosing exactly how.

Small but nice

Such a decriminalization of consumption and self-sufficiency is compatible with international treaties, requires only minor changes to existing laws, does not require a constitutional article and can therefore be implemented quickly and easily. It also seems possible for us to find a majority for this: this proposal is concrete, limited, simple and understandable.

We are prepared to offer information and courses for the development of a corresponding culture:

  • Putting together tips for successful limited home cultivation (including variants for seed procurement)
  • Identify opportunities for consumption that does not disturb the neighborhood
  • (if permitted) develop the basis for joint production.

In a second step, once the pilot projects have been completed, we can move on to discuss how cultivation and sale should be regulated in a somewhat commercial setting. But as previously mentioned, there is a great need for legislation, many unanswered questions and also the question of whether this should be approved in the same way as alcohol. Finding a position here, which would be capable of winning a majority, seems to be quite difficult and more of a long-term undertaking.

Proposed amendment to Article 19b

We want a simple, quickly implementable and understandable decriminalization as a first step.

To this end, we propose amending Article 19b of the Narcotics Act. 10 grams of cannabis for personal use is already quasi legal (exempt from punishment), although consumption is currently still punishable (however, the Federal Supreme Court has stated in several rulings that the consumption of small quantities should no longer be punished - but unfortunately this has not yet reached law enforcement agencies).

On the one hand, the aim is to increase the exempt quantity to a sensible level that at least allows unproblematic consumers to legally cover approximately one year's supply (and thus to be able to produce their own requirements).

A sentence should also be added that explicitly exempts the consumption of small quantities from criminal liability. In order to find a majority, only private consumption can be legalized. Consumption in public can still be punished, as it is today, with a fixed penalty over 100 francs. This seems acceptable to us, even if we would like to see greater freedom.

In this minimal version, distribution also remains prohibited as before, except for simultaneous, shared, unpaid consumption between adults. Someone who grows cannabis must therefore ensure that it does not get into the hands of others, especially young people.

Previous article in the Narcotics Act SR 812.121

Art. 19b

¹ Any person who prepares a negligible quantity of a narcotic for his or her own consumption or supplies a person over the age of 18 free of charge for the purpose of consuming the narcotic together at the same time does not commit an offence.

² 10 grams of a narcotic containing an effective concentration of cannabinoids constitutes a negligible quantity.

Revised article in the Narcotics Act SR 812.121

Art. 19b (revised, amendments in bold)

¹ Any person who prepares a negligible quantity of a narcotic for his or her own consumption or supplies a person over the age of 18 free of charge for the purpose of consuming the narcotic together at the same time does not commit an offence.

² 100 grams of a narcotic containing an effective concentration of cannabinoids constitutes a negligible quantity. The consumption of small quantities of a narcotic containing an effective concentration of cannabinoids is not punishable in private.

Previous entry in the Ordinance on administrative fines (OBV) SR 314.11

This provision would remain in force and continue to make it possible to punish unwanted consumption in public. To ensure clarity, this provision refers to consumption directly detected by the police, i.e. in practice to consumption in public.

VIII. Narcotics Act of October 3, 1951 (NarcA) CHF
8001. Unauthorized intentional consumption of narcotics of the cannabis effect type (Art. 19a no. 1 NarcA) 100

Examples of a small extension

Cultivation is not intended to provoke, but to cover your own needs. Even small plants can produce beautiful, resinous flowers. Here are a few examples for growing on the balcony.

minigrow1.jpg minigrow2.jpg
minigrow4.jpg minigrow5.jpg

We are also in the process of documenting the minigrow indoors. However, indoor is more time-consuming and resource-intensive. We would prefer outdoor, but indoor can of course be even more discreet.

Last modified: 2024/06/08 15:31

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Legal overview

Shit happens 15 (Summer 2023)

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