Cannabis trial: Basel pharmacies to charge black-market prices

Wares on display at the CannaTrade international cannabis fair in Bern in May © Keystone / Anthony Anex

The first Swiss project on the legal sale of cannabis in pharmacies will start on September 15 in canton Basel City. Hemp users over 18 can now register to take part, with the number of participants limited to 370.

This content was published on August 18, 2022 minutes

Six cannabinoid products – four types of cannabis flowers and two types of hashish – will be sold in nine pharmacies selected by the authorities, cantonal health minister Lukas Engelberger said on Thursday.

The prices charged by the pharmacies will be around those charged on the black market for products with a THC content. A gram will therefore cost CHF8-CHF12 ($8.40-$12.60).

The Federal Office of Public Health approved the pilot in April. It will be part of a project by the University of Basel, its psychiatric clinics and the cantonal health department.

It is intended to help evaluate the effects of new regulations on the recreational use of cannabis and ultimately combat black market distribution.

Legal ban

Several other local authorities, including Zurich, Geneva and Bern, have also applied to roll out similar trials. The Swiss parliament laid the legal basisExternal link for such small-scale initiatives in September 2020.

The health office estimates there are 220,000 regular consumers of cannabis in Switzerland despite a legal ban. The use of cannabis is only allowed for medical reasons.

In 2008 almost two-thirds of Swiss voters rejected an initiative to decriminalise cannabis consumption; it was the second national vote on the issue in a decade.

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