Basel has become the first city in Switzerland to be given the go ahead for a recreational cannabis pilot scheme this (northern hemisphere) summer.
Under the government-approved plan, around 400 people aged over 18 will be allowed to buy cannabis in selected pharmacies with their consumption patterns, physical and mental health closely monitored over 30 months.
The cannabis will be supplied by Swiss firm Pure Production, which has been granted an exemption for research purposes.
The scheme is the first to be authorised since Switzerland sanctioned time-limited pilot projects in May last year.
The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) said the idea was to improve understanding of “alternative regulatory forms”, such as regulated sales at pharmacies, that could form the basis of future legislation.
Growing, importing, producing and selling cannabis are currently banned in Switzerland, although the FOPH acknowledged there is a thriving illegal market and majority support for reform.
It warned participants passing on cannabis from pilot projects to others will be penalised and repeat offenders kicked off the programs altogether.