A financial case for the legalisation of cannabis sales in Switzerland led the discussion in the Swiss Sunday press, as did a call to rescue Libyan refugees, made by the Swiss justice minister ahead of an international migration meeting. Armed robbery statistics from the Federal Office of Police also made headlines.
A tax on THC?
The legal sale of cannabis in Switzerland could generate hundreds of millions of Swiss francs in tax revenues, Le Matin Dimanche reported Sunday, adding that according to a survey published this summer, 66% of Swiss would be in favour of such a legalisation.
“Telephone surveys suggest that some 520,000 people have consumed cannabis in the past year, and 220,000 in the past month,” Frank Zobel, deputy director of Addiction Suisseexternal link, told the Sunday edition of the French language paper.
Zobel added that the market for the substance is somewhere “between 40 and 80 tons per year”. At CHF10 ($10) per gram, it could represent an annual revenue of CHF400-800 million. “If cannabis was taxed like tobacco, at around 25%, that would mean CHF100-200 million in tax revenue,” Zobel said. For comparison, the tax revenues from tobacco in 2016 brought CHF2.1 billion to the Swiss pension system.
Rescue for ‘vulnerable’ Libyans
Le Matin Dimanche, the NZZ am Sonntag, the SonntagsZeitung, and Swiss public radio, RTS, all reported on Swiss justice minister Simonetta Sommaruga’s call for an EU rescue operation for refugees detained in Libya. According to the NZZ am Sonntag, Sommaruga called for Switzerland to help get women and children, in particular, out of detention centres in Libya as fast as possible.
She made the statement ten days before the third meeting of the Central Mediterranean Contact Groupexternal link, which will be held in Bern. In addition to Switzerland, the group comprises European and African countries that lie on the most prominent migration routes. The meeting should allow the exchange information and discussion of measures to be taken – one of which is to find a way to “evacuate especially vulnerable people in Libya” according to the justice minister. The SonntagsZeitung and Le Matin Dimanche also reported that funds to help reintegrate refugees when they are ready to return home will also be topic of discussion.
According to Swiss public radio, RTS, Sommaruga intends to convince her colleagues to create reception centres in Africa to dissuade migrants from heading to Europe, but also to account for genuine asylum seekers. Of these, Switzerland – where the number of asylum requests is the lowest it’s been since 2010 – is ready to welcome a certain number, Sommaruga said.
Spike in armed robberies
The Swiss Federal Office of Police (Fedpol) has published figures showing that in the past year, Switzerland has experienced an unprecedented rise in armed thefts, the SonntagsBlick reports. Twenty-two jewellery store robberies have been recorded for 2017, compared to 12 last year and ten in 2015. That means that on average, since the beginning of the year, a jewellery store has been broken into every two weeks. To fight this trend, which is also rising across Europe, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, Europol, has launched an action plan in which Switzerland will participate.
swissinfo.ch and agencies/cl