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Recreational cannabis stores coming to Switzerland as part of experiment

Germany-based Sanity Group is teaming up with the Swiss Institute for Addiction and Health Research (ISGF) to open two legal recreational cannabis stores in Switzerland as part of the country’s pilot study into dispensing marijuana.

Overall, the Sanity Group-ISGF pilot project is the sixth that has been given the green light.

But unlike the other Swiss projects, which will dispense cannabis via pharmacies or clubs, the Sanity Group-ISGF project will use stores as a point of sale.

The project’s first retail outlet will be set up in the municipality of Allschwil later this year, and another location will follow in Liestal.

In May 2021, an amendment to Switzerland’s Federal Narcotics Act came into force allowing pilot trials involving the dispensing of recreational cannabis.

ISGF and Sanity Group said they received final approval from the Federal Office of Public Health to conduct the cannabis pilot study.

That followed approval from the Ethics Committee Northwest and Central Switzerland last year.

In a news release, Sanity Group said the aim of the study is to learn more about regulated access to cannabis and provide a scientific basis for possible approaches to future marijuana regulation in the country.

The study will examine the regulated sale of cannabis for nonmedical purposes. It will be led by Michael Schaub, the ISGF’s scientific director.

The Swiss government said the scientific pilot trials are designed to provide insights into:

  • The physical and mental health of consumers, plus their performance and productivity.
  • Consumption patterns.
  • Socioeconomic aspects.
  • The drug market in a specific geographic area.
  • Youth protection.
  • Public safety.

“The insights gained from the study can contribute to an informed health policy discussion on the responsible use of cannabis and serve as a basis for decisions on long-term regulation,” Schaub said in a statement.

“In addition, we want to investigate whether we can gain better access to high-risk users with, for example, mental health problems, in order to refer them to appropriate cantonal care centers.”

Sanity Group said up to 3,950 consumers in the area of Basel-Landschaft will be able to participate in the study.

Participants will undergo a medical aptitude test to potentially gain admission to the study.

The participants will be required to undergo surveys to monitor their consumption behavior.

Physical and mental health surveys will take place every three to six months.

The study, scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of 2023, will run for five years.

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