The City of Lausanne will launch its non-profit cannabis sales pilot project at the end of 2022. Called Cann-L and lasting four years, it aims to measure the effects of such a model on consumption, in terms of health and safety.
“In Lausanne, as in other cities, cannabis is very present. According to estimates, 6,500 people consumed it during the previous month and 1,500 do it daily”, explained to the press Tuesday Emilie Moeschler, municipal responsible for sport and social cohesion.
“It is essential that cities launch these experimental studies to address the issue objectively and dispassionately,” she continued. And it should be noted that the Olympic capital “expressed, in 2018, its interest in a pilot experience with the federal authorities, in order to develop its policy in this area”.
In the big cities
The entry into force of a modification of the federal law on narcotics on May 15, 2021, paved the way for strictly supervised pilot tests. Bern, Basel, Geneva and Zurich are participating by developing their own project, recalled Moeschler. The one in Lausanne aims to target consumption while strengthening prevention and risk reduction, especially among young people.
The city chose Addiction Suisse as a partner to lead the science component. The management of the sale of cannabis is entrusted to a new non-profit association. It takes its name from Cann-L, for “Cannabis Lausanne – The responsible alternative to illegal cannabis”.
The products will be sold to test takers at a dedicated store that must be located downtown and will be managed by Cann-L. “The place will not have a medical connotation, unlike German-speaking Switzerland, which opted for pharmacies”, stressed the municipality.
As required by federal law, the hemp sold will be organic and local. It will be produced in the canton and not in the city.
controlled by the police
In terms of security, the project will limit the nuisance caused by the illegal market, estimated at 9 million in 2020. “The role of the police will be to monitor production sites, identify cannabis resulting from the project from that of the black market and monitor the impact on the latter. ”, detailed Pierre-Antoine Hildbrand, municipal officer responsible for security and economy.
Asked about the advantages of participating in this program, Pierre-Antoine Hildbrand points out that it allows you to be nice, be sure of the quality of the products and better manage your consumption.
According to federal law, consumption will be limited to the private area. Purchased products may not be transferred or resold to third parties.
The price will be the same as on the black market, ie between 10 francs and 13 francs per gram. Maximum amounts are fixed (10 grams of THC per month), but should be enough for a heavy drinker, noted Frank Zobel, deputy director of Swiss Addiction.
The properly trained team will deliver prevention messages and reminders about current legislation. The project’s promoters hope to reach a sufficient number of consumers, that is, 1,200 of the 6,500 that the City would have.
End of year
Not everyone will be able to buy cannabis at this store, noted Mr. Zobel. The pilot project is aimed at adult residents of Lausanne, who already use cannabis and do not have exclusion criteria. Interested parties can find out about their eligibility and the next steps of the project on the website www.cann-l.ch.
City and Addiction Switzerland will present its project at the end of May to the cantonal ethics commission and the Federal Department of Public Health (OFSP). Implementation is scheduled for the end of the year.
The cost, which essentially concerns research funding, amounts to around CHF 380,000 per year. Furthermore, the canton was involved from the beginning in the reflections surrounding the project and could contribute to the costs of the scientific study.
And Frank Zobel underlines that these projects mark a change of era. Other experiences besides prohibition are also carried out abroad, with emphasis on the legalization of cannabis in 18 US states and discussions in Europe on the subject.