Switzerland is not neutral on marijuana.
The mountainous country famous for staying out of greater Europe’s petty conflicts ,while enjoying clean, safe and precise everything (as well as widespread gun ownership rivaling only the U.S.’s firearms obsession), recently decriminalized small-scale cannabis possession, but still treats cultivation, sales and use as a crime.
Swiss police must not give too much of a shit, as the country has the second-highest rate of marijuana use among youth (among them, presumably, future police). And despite a blanket prohibition on THC, there’s a growing market for over-the-counter and legal cannabis sales in aesthetically pleasing dispensaries.
Yes, Switzerland is crazy for high-end CBD.
Talking Drugs notes that while Swiss law bans THC, cannabis with less than one percent THC is perfectly legal. In most countries, “cannabis” with such low THC levels is classified as hemp—in America, the cutoff is 0.3 percent THC; anything lower is hemp and federally legal, anything higher is “marijuana” and illegal—but there’s another key distinction: most “hemp” is bred for fuel and fiber, and not for human consumption via smoking.
And while the Swiss clearly enjoy marijuana and have no trouble finding it on the black market, they also like smoking over-the-counter, low-THC, high-CBD cannabis—and are buying plenty of that, too.
Sold under the brand name “C-Pure,” low-THC cannabis is available in head shops across the country. Because it apparently looks and smells just like marijuana, police are confiscating it from customers and seizing it from stores, but get this—seizures can be contested, and the police can be made to test the “contraband,” at their cost. And if it clocks at under one percent THC, they have to return it.
This has happened about a dozen times since August, leading at least one expert to lament the rank inefficiency of such low-stakes rigmarole and exhort the cops to come up with a better, more “innovative” solution. Such as focus on something more problematic, like littering.
This has led, very quickly, to a booming and sophisticated market for high-CBD flower in Switzerland, one that may impress even the most jaded regular at high-end dispensaries in Colorado and California.
Switzerland has “dispensaries” selling various strains of CBD flower, as well as oil and tincture in several major cities—all of which, judging by the photos, would earn glowing write-ups from minimalist design magazines in America—and you can buy CBD flowers online. Twenty-four Swiss francs, worth roughly the same amount in American dollars, can get you 10 grams of 7.2 percent CBD, 0.4 percent THC flower—and get it delivered to your door!
Real-deal marijuana sales may not be too far off.
Early last year, Swiss officials floated a plan to open “cannabis clubs” in four major cities, though judging by internet news searches, it doesn’t appear the plan has advanced very far. That said, if police over-enforcement of CBD flower sales are causing a public outcry, it stands to reason the next move in a permissive society would be to relax all marijuana laws. That would only be the efficient thing to do.
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