The Swiss Institute for Addiction and Health Research (ISGF) and Sanity Group have received final approval from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) to conduct a cannabis pilot study in the canton of Basel-Landschaft, following approval from the Ethics Commission for Northwestern and Central Switzerland (EKNZ) last year.
Up to 3,950 adults living in the canton will be able to take part in the study, which aims to investigate the regulated sale of cannabis for non-medical purposes.
This is the sixth pilot project for adult-use cannabis sales in Switzerland to receive the green light. However, unlike the other pilot projects, distribution will not take place via pharmacies or clubs, but through a conventional point-of-sale.
Europe’s first legal store for cannabis for consumption is currently being set up in the municipality of Allschwil. Another store will follow in the coming months in Liestal, where consumers will be able to buy a variety of cannabis products such as flowers, extracts, hashish, edibles, and vaping liquids.
Read more about the Swiss pilot project and find the latest cannabis news of the day with the Hemp.im mobile app.
Gathering data on cannabis consumption
The study is scheduled to start in the fourth quarter of 2023 and run for five years. Led by Professor Michael Schaub, Scientific Director of the ISGF, it will record consumption behavior as well as the physical and mental health of participants.
“After an initial information meeting about the trial and how to manage cannabis, potential participants will undergo a medical fitness test and an online survey,” explains Professor Schaub.
“If participants are accepted into the study, they will be able to legally purchase cannabis at the point of sale for a limited period using a participation card. Ongoing surveys of participants’ consumption behavior and physical and mental health will take place every three to six months.”
The societal effects of consumption, particularly on public safety and order, will be analyzed through close exchange and integration of relevant target groups, such as the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
He added: “The results of the study can contribute to an informed health policy debate on the responsible use of cannabis and serve as a basis for decision-making on long-term regulation.”
“In addition, we wish to investigate whether it is possible to have better access to high-risk consumers suffering, for example, from mental health problems, in order to refer them to the appropriate cantonal care centers.”
Locally grown cannabis
All cannabis products will be produced in accordance with BetmPV quality requirements and organic guidelines in Switzerland by Swiss cultivation partner SwissExtract. Cannabis flowers will be priced between CHF 8 and 12, depending on THC content.
Stefan Strasser, CEO of SwissExtract, said: “Our aim is to provide high-quality products with high reliability based on sound scientific research. Our focus is on organic quality, Swissness and transparency.”
“As we only use natural substances to cultivate our raw materials, we guarantee non-polluting products. We have the entire value chain under one roof: cultivation, processing and packaging take place exclusively in Switzerland, and we document the production process from the plant seed to the end product. For us, SwissExtract is a life’s work, with a sincere concern for people and the environment.”
Results of international interest
Over the past few months, Sanity Group, Europe’s leading cannabis company, has been working with regional and national authorities to get this ambitious project off the ground.
Finn Hänsel, CEO of Sanity Group, commented: “We are delighted with the approval of the study in Basel-Landschaft and the opportunity to make our contribution to social acceptance and knowledge transfer around the Cannabis plant and its many uses. Our ambition to support the ISGF pilot project with our knowledge and experience as an international cannabis company is primarily based on promoting cannabis research.”
“Since the company was founded, our aim has been to pursue research into the benefits of cannabis and to destigmatize the plant. In collaboration with the ISGF, we are developing safe sales concepts based on health protection, youth protection, and prevention. We expect the study to yield interesting results, which will be of international interest.”
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