Zurich: Patients should have easier access to cannabis

Zurich: Patients should have easier access to cannabis
File photo: Marcel van Hoorn/AFP
People who need cannabis for medical reasons should be issued with a special identity card to help them obtain the drug more easily, say authorities in the canton of Zurich.

It’s already legal for people to consume cannabis-based products for medical purposes, but they currently require authorization from the Swiss federal health office in order to do so, reported news agencies on Wednesday.

However, getting that authorization is so complicated and overly bureaucratic that many people look to obtain the drug illegally, said the Green Party, which launched a bill in Zurich’s parliament for a new system.

The bill, which was approved by 80 votes to 36, proposes that people in the canton suffering from an illness whose symptoms are relieved by cannabis can obtain an identity card which would give them the right to consume cannabis products.

Zurich authorities must now seek approval from the federal health office before the plan can be put into practice.

Earlier this year authorities in the Swiss capital Bern announced they were supporting the development of a pilot project which would see cannabis sold in pharmacies in the city.

A proposal for the scheme was developed by the city’s Institute for Social and Preventive Medicine and submitted to cantonal authorities in August for approval.

If approved, the pilot project will act as research into the affects of the regulated sale of cannabis on the consumption and purchasing behaviour of participants.

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