NEWS
Switzerland Will Only Grow Organic Weed for Its Recreational Pot Program
While the US government still won’t officially recognize USDA organic certification for marijuana, Switzerland will only permit its upcoming adult-use weed industry to grow and sell organic pot.
Published on February 18, 2020

Switzerland’s pilot program for legal, recreational marijuana will only allow cannabis clubs to sell organically produced weed, according to a new policy drafted by the National Council’s committee in charge of the program.

Notably, the Swiss government hasn’t actually legalized adult-use weed, nor is national legalization on the table just yet. Switzerland’s organic weed will be grown as part of a 10-year study that will follow 5,000 Swiss adults aged 18 years or older to observe the effects of pot use on the participants’ employment, familial relations, social relations, and general health, Marijuana Business Daily reported. The government will also use the pilot study to assess recreational weed’s effects on the nation’s underground drug markets.

Like all organic produce, Switzerland’s pilot program pot will be cultivated without the use of artificial, petroleum-based pesticides, fertilizers, or herbicides. Meanwhile, in the US — where marijuana remains federally outlawed — the Department of Agriculture bans state-licensed pot companies from labeling any weed products as “organic” due to marijuana’s Schedule I drug status.

In 2017, the Swiss Parliament voted to change the nation’s marijuana laws, but disagreements between the Federal Assembly (which opposed the program) and the Council of States (which supported the program) prevented the study’s rollout. However, in 2018, the Federal Council (which oversees the federal government, somewhat like the US presidency) advised Parliament to approve the study, which it ultimately did in December of last year. Parliament put the National Council’s Committee for Social Security and Health in charge of crafting the pilot program’s specific rules.

Under the pilot program, study participants may purchase, possess, and consume marijuana products containing up to 20 percent THC, but transferring or selling the pot products to other parties will remain illegal. Products will include flower, oils, concentrates, and edibles, though additional rules are still being hammered out by the National Council’s committee.

Switzerland will join a few other western European nations that are also currently running or about to launch pilot programs for weed reforms. France and Denmark are conducting studies for medical marijuana among a limited number of patients, and the Netherlands is looking at a national recreational cannabis coffee shop program similar to the one in Amsterdam. 

Ironically, Amsterdam’s new mayor is considering a law that would ban foreign tourists from buying legal recreational weed at the Dutch capital’s world-famous coffee shops.

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Randy Robinson
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Based in Denver, Randy studied cannabinoid science while getting a degree in molecular biology at the University of Colorado. When not writing about cannabis, science, politics, or LGBT issues, they can be found exploring nature somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Catch Randy on Twitter and Instagram @randieseljay
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