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Switzerland to launch regulated medical marijuana market

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The Swiss Federal Council has submitted to Parliament amendments to the country's Narcotics Act to lift the ban on medical cannabis, effectively opening the door to a broader potential market. In addition, a special permit from the federal public health office will no longer be required, and patients will be able to obtain regular prescriptions from their doctors. The government says the demand for such licenses has been increasing, adding an unnecessary administrative burden to the government and ultimately delaying treatment. According to the Federal Office of Public Health, adjustments to the Narcotics Control Regulations (BetmKV) and the Narcotics Inventory Regulations (BetmVV-EDI) are needed to implement the change in law. The government expects the changes to the law to take effect on Aug. 1. The authority to regulate the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes will fall to the Swiss Agency for Medical Products (Swissmedic). However, the amendments to the law will not have an impact on reimbursement of medical cannabis products through the national health insurance. The sale and consumption of cannabis for non-medical purposes will still be prohibited.

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