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Switzerland Launches Seventh Pilot Study on Legal Cannabis Sales in Zürich Canton

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Switzerland embarks on its seventh pilot study exploring the sale of legal cannabis for adult-use, with Zürich Canton taking the lead. The announcement was made by officials on Monday, March 18th, marking the commencement of the largest trial of its kind, set to last for five years.

With an anticipated participation of up to 7,500 individuals, the study is poised to enroll 5,000 participants who will gain access to regulated cannabis products. This initiative follows six previous pilot programs in Basel, Zürich, Bern, Lucerne, Biel, and Basel-Landschaft (Baselland), either already underway or poised to begin.

Partnering universities are tasked with gathering data on consumption behavior and the physical and mental health of participants to assess the impact on public health. For the first time, two out of three participant groups will legally access regulated cannabis products from select distribution points, while the third will serve as a comparison group, continuing to source cannabis illegally.

In Zürich's Winterthur, Schlieren, and Horgen, participants will purchase cannabis from specialist shops and pharmacies starting May 2024, with plans for additional points of sale in Adliswil, Wädenswil, and Uster. The study extends its reach to 34 municipalities, with enrollment underway and 3,000 individuals already on the waiting list.

The cannabis pilot, led by the KOF Swiss Economic Institute at ETH Zürich and The University of Zürich, aims to scrutinize the social and economic impacts of cannabis use. Dr. Andreas Beerli, head of research at KOF, emphasizes a focus on these aspects along with a voluntary program to regulate cannabis use to mitigate potential negative consequences.

The Federal Office of Public Health outlines the objectives of the trial, aiming to investigate the societal and economic ramifications of legalizing recreational cannabis use in Switzerland, alongside studying the effectiveness of a self-regulation program to prevent excessive cannabis use through a randomized controlled trial.

Scheduled to run until December 2028, the study boasts a sample size of 7,500 individuals, funded by the Swiss Cannabis Research Association.

For further inquiries, interested parties may contact Dr. Andreas Beerli at [email protected] or Prof. Dr. Michel Maréchal at [email protected].

Contact Information:

KOF Swiss Economic Institute

Leonhardstrasse 21, 8092 Zürich