Heimat, based in the canton of St Gallen, has been producing tobacco cigarettes since last year. But now it has turned its hand to making cigarettes using legal cannabis.
In 2011 Switzerland legalized cannabis containing up to one percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – higher than the 0.2 percent legal limit in many other European countries.
The low level of THC means this legal Swiss cannabis won’t make you high, but it does still contain cannabidiol (CBD), thought to have certain health benefits making it useful for treating pain, inflammation and panic attacks.
According to Heimat, the cannabis in its cigarettes respects the legal limit of THC but contains a high level – some 20 percent – of CBD.
Costing 19.90 francs a packet, the cigarettes will be available through the company’s website and in outlets across Switzerland including, from later this month, Coop.
Speaking to paper 20 Minuten, Coop spokesman Urs Meier said the supermarket already sells other hemp products including tea, beer and oil and that they are “in high demand”.
Official sales of the cannabis cigarettes start on July 24th but they are already available in some branches, said the paper.
The news hasn’t pleased some, with the president of a Swiss anti-drugs association telling 20 Minuten it was “problematic” that there have been no studies on the effects of CBD products.
Though Heimat claims to be the first to make this legal cannabis available in cigarette form, the Swiss market for other CBD products, such as oil, is already booming.
According to news agency AFP, annual sales of legal cannabis are around 100 million francs.
Though Heimat’s new cigarettes are perfectly legal, the company warns against consuming them abroad where laws may be different.