LEGAL STATUS OF CANNABIS IN SWITZERLAND
1. Consumption and possession
Cannabis use is illegal in Switzerland. In 2004 the parliament refused to make a drug law reform, not only concerning Cannabis (the idea was to clear the situation for the heroin trials, which still go under exception, as well). So, Cannabis stays illegal, consumption stays illegal, but thousands of people smoke it and the police, who said they wanted the reform, admits that they impossibly can control the situation. If you smoke in public e. g. in a park, you can get fined. It depends also on the kind of ‘mood’ of the police, but if they pass and see you, they should do something.
For people under 18 that are under “Jugendstrafrecht”, there is the possibility to go 2 times to a social office with their parents to talk about the situation, e.g. there are measures that are worked out by the social services. If you do not go there you have to go to (Youth-)court.
You have to ask for allowance if you want to grow potent THC (e. g. for perfume ). If you grow a small amount for your own, it’s no problem. lately, there has been a big offensive against large scale cultivation of cannabis, with legal processes against farmers and shops.
Distribution of hemp products is legal, but people who had had shops and openly sold high THC Marihuana (lot of it outdoor, potent but naturally grown and not pushed indoor) have got big fines and prison to expect.
4. Provision of seeds, tools to produce and consume cannabis etc.
Legal However, in the past years, there is a big backlash after a period of liberal attitudes. Many so-called hempshops have been closed, though still you can find hemp in shops (sometimes only under the counter, undeclared).
5. Production and distribution of hemp products
6. Shops that sell cannabis-related products
Zum Hinkelstein, Weichselmattstrasse 4, CH – 4103 Bottmingen
Contact for Cannabis Activism in Switzerland
: Chanvre Info
POLICIES ON OTHER DRUGS
Switzerland is a federation, so we have 26 different police and governments in the 26 Kantone (states) . So you have 26 different drug policies, based on the same laws, but handled quite different, generally you can see the difference between urban and rural areas/Kantons. The Kantons with big cities are more progressive (in cities as Zurich and Basel the DroLeg Initiative (a proposal to repeal prohibition which was put to a referendum) obtained over 60% yes. More conservative cantons have more harsh policies.
Today, Switzerland has a very high standard drug policy, adopting harm reduction measures such as heroin maintenance and consumption rooms. Public Health officials stand in for drug policy reform, including decriminalisation of cannabis and a controlled market. But in spite of several efforts to establish a legal regualtion of the drugs market, law proposals going into this direction have not been approved yet. The discussion is honest, realising that legal drugs need control as well.
Needle exchange is an accepted measure, you will find syringe-supply-boxes even in the women prison (1 for whole Switzerland. There are several consumption rooms in the cities, and pill testing on parties that do have state support. And since 1996, heroin maintenance programmes are taking place, proving very positive results. However, harm reduction takes place with the help of private organisations. Officials see no need for action and leave the misery-producing structure untouched. One private organisation has stopped their needle-exchange program, because they do not want to continue doing harm reduction while the state policy does not move.
Right-wing politicians fight all these harmreduction measures. They have a organisation called “Dachverband für Abstinenzorientierte Drogenpolitik – DAD” (Platform for abstinence-orientated drug-policies). If you told them to make abstinence-orientated alcohol-policy, they would cry out loud and defend liberty (as they mostly do consume alcohol and think that must be right).
Because of its policy, Switzerland has repeatedly been criticised by the United Nations. The government was requested to show that its reform policies result in decreasing demand. Until now, Swiss authorities have defended their policies, referring to the fact that its focus has been on protecting public health. Meanwhile, figures on cannabis use show that prevalence in areas where cannabis policies are still rather restrictive is higher than in more tolerant areas.
In 2007, Swiss parliament will discuss the reform proposals on drug policy. Then we expect the referendum from people like DAD, if the reforms are substantial, and from the hemp-coordination activists/socialworkers if there are no real reform.
Contact for Drug Policy Activism in Switzerland: