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Zurich puts off recreational pot smoking trial

Pot smoker
Up to 2,100 people can take part in the trial with cannabis in Zurich. Keystone / Don Ryan

The Swiss health authorities have forced a delay of a trial with cannabis in Switzerland's largest city, due to start in the next few weeks.

The Zurich city council and the university of Zurich announced that the sale of cannabis products from pharmacies and social clubs under controlled conditions would only start in the first half of next year.

The Federal Office of Public Health had not yet given its final approval to the project, Zuri Can – Cannabis with Responsibility,  due to the “complexity of the project with its different reference points”.

Without this approval, however, those responsible for the study are not allowed to start growing hemp. And because no cannabis can be cultivated during the winter months, the start of sales is now postponed to the first half of 2023.

However, the study participants, will be accepted into the project a few months earlier. Since June, 1,700 interested people have put their names on a waiting list for the large-scale trial with up to 2,100 participants.

The aim is to research the effects of a regulated supply on health and consumption behaviour. Two Swiss producers will supply the project with cannabis products from organic cultivation and with different THC/CBD contents.

Special ID card 

The cannabis is distributed in pharmacies, the drug information centre and so-called social clubs where consumers can meet to buy and smoke pot. This is intended to reach those who tend to avoid official places.

These study participants will receive a maximum of ten grams of THC per month. In case they are stopped by the police, they will receive a special ID card that entitles them to buy, possess and consume the study drugs.

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