Why it matters: Two cannabis trials have been approved in Switzerland, one covering the areas of Bern, Lucerne and Biel, and another in Geneva. These trials come after Switzerland lifted its ban on medical cannabis in June 2022 and announced its intention to conduct a cannabis trial back in September 2021.
What they are saying: The SCRIPT study, which will cover Bern, Lucerne and Biel, is expected to begin in October 2023-April 2026. The head of the SCRIPT study at the University of Bern, Reto Auer, explained that the goal is to examine “health and social effects” of a regulated cannabis industry at local pharmacies. Meanwhile, an additional study initiative called “The Cannabinotheque: a pilot trial for the regulated sale of cannabis in the canton of Geneva” was also approved by BAG. Beginning in June 2023 through June 2027, this study will “improve knowledge of the substance and its associated issues and concerns and may help reduce the health and social risks that drug consumption usually entails” with a sample size of 1,080 participants.
The big picture: These studies aim to address the problems caused by prohibition and the black market for cannabis and to test possible harm reduction approaches, as well as strict control of supply and distribution used for cannabis. Switzerland initially announced that it would be conducting a cannabis trial last year.
What to watch: These trials will provide more insight into the health and social effects of a regulated cannabis industry at local pharmacies and its associated issues and concerns, potentially helping to reduce the health and social risks that drug consumption usually entails.
My take: These cannabis trials in Switzerland are a step towards better understanding the potential impact of regulation on health and social outcomes associated with cannabis use. They could provide valuable insight into the benefits and risks of a regulated cannabis market and help shape policy decisions going forward.