The Swiss government confirmed that it will remove limitations on medical marijuana use, starting August 1.
Medical marijuana patients are required to seek exceptional authorization from the health ministry to get medical cannabis prescriptions, which causes needless delays. Starting in August, the decision to use a cannabis-based medicine for therapeutic purposes will be taken by the physician in consultation with the patient, reported Leafie.
The country’s parliament previously agreed on an amendment to the law in March 2021 to enhance access to medical marijuana, aiming to “facilitate access to cannabis for medical use for patients.” According to the Federal Office of Public Health, new rules should benefit thousands of patients, some suffering from cancer or multiple sclerosis, who deal with chronic pain daily. It turns out that the demand for medical marijuana treatments has boomed in Switzerland recently. In 2019 alone, the health ministry issued 3,000 exceptional permissions.
At the moment in Switzerland, only licensed medical marijuana products containing less than 1% THC, such as Jazz Pharma’s Sativex, are allowed.
“Switzerland just took another big step in opening up access for cannabis patients by giving the doctors freedom to prescribe cannabis products easier and with less government restrictions,”Mike Sassano, founder, chairman & CEO of Somai Pharmaceuticals told Benzinga. “Switzerland is following suit of European countries; Germany did something similar in 2019 by allowing more medical indications to be treated. More European countries are now revisiting restrictive policies, like only allowing cannabis as a last resort. Changes in regulations like what Switzerland is doing is expected to sweep Europe over the next 2 years. Recently Spain just announced they will be creating regulations to allow medical cannabis, and they will most likely look at the success in Germany and positive regulations by the Swiss.”
Recent Cannabis Developments In Switzerland
In May 2021, an amendment to the Federal Narcotics Act came into force in Switzerland, allowing pilot trials involving the dispensing of cannabis for non-medicinal purposes. These trials are intended to create the basis for future legal regulation and will include 5,000 registered participants, who have proven to the federal government they already have been consuming cannabis.
In April 2022, Swiss authorities green lighted a pilot project under which a few hundred people in the city of Basel will be allowed to buy cannabis from pharmacies for recreational purposes.
The same month, Schlosshotel Zermatt, the first CBD Spa in Europe was inaugurated at the foot of the Matterhorn Mountain (famous for its ski resorts and for being the logo of the Toblerone chocolate brand) in the Swiss Alps.