Happy Marijuana Day! Swiss Legalising Cannabis
Today (April 20) is Marijuana Day, and next month Switzerland will pilot Europe’s first fully-legal regulated cannabis market for adult use. In Switzerland as in Britain, prohibition has failed to address a thriving criminal market, so public health officials now see regulation as part of the answer to get drugs under control. The decade-long experiment aims “to increase knowledge on the advantages and disadvantages of controlled access to cannabis, and to provide a solid scientific basis for any future decision-making on cannabis regulation”. Sensible and rational, unlike the sometimes hysterical debate in Britain.
The Swiss parliament passed an amendment to the Federal Act on Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances (NarcA). With its new article 8a NarcA, the revised act provides a legal basis for conducting scientific pilot trials with cannabis that are limited in terms of both time and place. The trials will provide a scientific basis for the future regulation of cannabis. The amended Act enters into force on 15 May 2021 and will remain in effect for ten years. This will not be the last “temporary” trial in Europe.
In Britain there is overwhelming popular support for the legalisation of cannabis, yet because recreational drugs are illegal, our cities are being ravaged by criminal turf wars over drug distribution. Taking the products out of the hands of criminals and into regulated markets would not only end the bloodshed, it would end the unnecessary criminalisation of thousands of young people. Drug addiction would be treated as a medical, not judicial problem. The war on drugs has failed and will always fail because humans like to alter their mental state. Voters should be allowed to enjoy drugs safely…