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Cannabis: Switzerland prepares for legalization

After the National, the State Public Health Commission has largely agreed to regulate the cannabis market.

The way is clear: parliamentarians can now prepare the law that will “lift the prohibition of cannabis and completely revise the regulations on its cultivation, production, trade and consumption”. The Committee on Public Health of the Council of States voted 9 to 2 in favor of the parliamentary initiative to regulate the market, a few months after a (closer) vote of the same committee of the National.

Put an end to the black market

The committee of the States wants to treat the problem in its entirety. “It will be necessary to ensure that the black market is contained and that only cannabis whose quality has been controlled is available,” it said in its statement issued Tuesday afternoon.

The initiative accepted by the commissions speaks indeed “to introduce a tax and regulate advertising, to dry up the black market by removing the prohibition and to supervise the production for personal use”. The protection of minors must be considered a priority, the text says.

From now on, the National Health Commission will have to work on writing the law, which will then be submitted to both chambers in plenary. Given the votes of the elected representatives of the commissions and the positions of the different parties, the proposal has the potential to be accepted.

Times are changing

First to react, the Young Socialists “welcome the clear decision of the commission and hope that the chambers will quickly deal with this object”. The Swiss Greens had also called for acceptance of the solution in the previous vote. The FDP is somewhat divided, but some sections are advocating the decriminalization of all drugs.

The Centre and the SVP have been rather sceptical in the past, but it should be noted that the parliamentary initiative was tabled by Heinz Siegenthaler from Bern, who sits for the PBD, i.e. in the parliamentary group of the Centre, and that he is a former member of the SVP.