• Switzerland's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Major Swiss cities set to back 'cannabis clubs'

Malcolm Curtis · 14 Mar 2014, 10:50

Published: 14 Mar 2014 10:50 GMT+01:00

Lawmakers from at least five municipal governments are looking at participating in an experiment to regularize the use of marijuana through “user’s associations”.

Bern has become the latest city to look seriously at liberalizing the use of cannabis through regulations, the Berner Zeitung newspaper reported on Thursday.

Zurich, Basel and Lausanne are also interested in joining in the experiment being piloted by the city of Geneva.

A multi-party working group in Geneva in December presented a proposal for “cannabis social clubs” that would have even allowed minors to participate.

But since then the proposal has evolved, the 20 Minutes newspaper reported on Friday.

The groups would be restricted to adults and called “associations of cannabis users”, with the use of “social club” considered too fanciful.

“At first we thought to include minors in the users’ associations but this question proved to be extremely sensitive,” Rolin Wavre, a member of the Liberal party in Geneva told 20 Minutes.

“But we should be clear to exclude them (minors) from the project will not address the problem of marijuana consumption by minors.”

The working group will submit its final proposal to authorities in June but changes to the federal narcotic law would be needed in order for to go ahead.

The Swiss People’s Party in Geneva has staunchly opposed the project, stating that cannabis has become a “hard drug”.

But backers of the proposal say it would reduce the “black market” and illegal street trading of marijuana through strict controls that would allow cannabis to be traced back to certified seeds, the Berner Zeitung reported.

Other elements, such as the level THC, an active ingredient in cannabis, and use of pesticides in cultivation could also be controlled, proponents say.

The use and possession of cannabis remains illegal in Switzerland, although enforcement differs widely depending on the cantons.

However, the federal government moved to liberalize its policies with a law that took effect on October 1st 2013 that makes possession of small amounts of marijuana a ticketing offence.

Story continues below…

The law authorizes police officers to issue 100-franc ($115) tickets for adults found in possession of 10 grans of marijuana or less.

The change aimed to reduce the 30,000 or so pot-related cases that end up clogging Swiss courts annually, given that cannabis is the most commonly used illicit substance in Switzerland.

In February, a federal parliamentary committee looking into drug issues said it wanted to reopen the debate on the legalization in the wake of developments in the US, Uruguay and New Zealand.

The US state of Colorado recently liberalized laws permitting stores to sell small quantities of cannabis to individuals, who are legally allowed to possess up to one ounce of pot while travelling, although smoking the drug in public there remains banned.

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Swiss hunting season claims human lives
The hunting season started ten days ago. File photo: Umberto Nicoletti

Several hunters have died in accidents over the past few days.

Sacked Fifa executive hits back in Zurich court
Kattner was sacked in May. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Fifa's disgraced former secretary general Markus Kattner has begun legal action to challenge his "unjustified" sacking.

Switzerland edges towards nationwide burqa ban
The burqa is already banned in the canton of Ticino. File photo: Antoine Taveneaux

The Swiss lower house of parliament has narrowly approved the idea.

WHO calls for action against air pollution
File photo: Issouf Sarego/AFP

Nine out of 10 people globally are breathing poor quality air, the World Health Organization has said.

Two arrested in police raid on Basel mosque
File photo: Michele Limini/AFP

Police in Basel raided a controversial mosque in the city and arrested two people on Tuesday morning, Swiss media reported.

Families slapped with hefty rise in health costs
File photo: Marcel Grieder

Health insurance premiums will rise by on average 4.5 percent for adults and 6.6 percent for children in 2017.

Neuchâtel votes no to foreigners running for office
Photo: kuhnmi/Flickr

Neuchâtel voted on Sunday against an initiative that would have made it the first Swiss canton to allow foreigners stand in cantonal elections.

Swiss voters say no to higher pensions
Photo: AFP

Swiss voters on Sunday rejected a plan to increase pension payments by ten percent.

Italians enraged by Ticino foreign worker vote
File picture of Lega Nord leader Roberto Maroni. Photo: AFP

The leader of Italy's Lega Nord is plotting "adequate counter-measures".

EU warns Swiss over vote to curb cross-border workers
Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann (R) and EC President Jean-Claude Juncker met in Zurich on September 19th to talk about the implementation of Swiss immigration restrictions. Photo: AFP

The EU warned Switzerland on Monday over a vote by one of its cantons backing curbs on migrants, an issue being closely watched in London as a possible template for Brexit negotiations.

Sponsored Article
7 tips for learning Swiss French
Photo: AFP
National
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
National
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Photo: File
Politics
Bern argues over passports for 3rd generation foreigners
Photo: Broad Bean Media
Education
Muslim pupils must shake hands – ‘no ifs and buts’
Photo: AFP
Society
Swiss ‘slave children’ to finally get compensation
Photo: Jan Geerk/Swiss-image.ch
Lifestyle
Zurich named ‘greenest’ city on the planet
Photo: Swiss
National
Brawl over seats forces Swiss to abort flight
Photo: Daniel Stockhammer
Culture
Research shows typical Swiss chalets ‘not actually Swiss’
Photo: AFP
National
Switzerland to get nationwide disaster alert system
Photo: S3
National
Swiss space firm boss left badly injured in violent attack
Photo: ETH Zurich
Education
ETH Zurich crowned best uni in continental Europe – again
File photo: Martin Abegglen
National
Report: Swiss citizenship rules leave some stateless
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
National
Fatal crash: pilot told to fly below safe altitude
Photo: Peter Linke
Business & Money
Elderly Italian on benefits stashed €1m in Swiss bank
Photo: Stuart Richards
Society
Court sides with chickens in dispute over noisy henhouse
Photo: SAC
Lifestyle
Hiking: 7 incredible Swiss Alpine Club cabins
Photo: David Abercrombie
National
Swiss politician arrested over illegal entry of migrants
Photo: Coiffure X
National
Chewbacca stolen in ‘terrorist attack’ on Swiss hair salon
Photo: AFP
National
Foreigners in Switzerland surpass 2 million mark
Photo: AFP
National
Expert predicts major quake for Switzerland by 2040
Photo: The Local
National
Geneva runs out of permits for non-EU workers
Photo:C Carlstead
National
Geneva advises teachers on religion in school
4,331
jobs available