Switzerland To Test Cannabis Clubs
There are certain countries here in Europe that are known to be a little more liberal when it comes to cannabis use; one such country is Switzerland. Although illegal in Switzerland, many police forces will turn a blind eye to cannabis, as long as it for personal use and not being used in a blatant manner. Well, things are going one step further, as four cities agree to take part in a project that will see cannabis clubs set up within their borders.
It is a great step forward in the gradual fight to see cannabis policy changed here in Europe, and another example of reform much closer to home than the legalisation going on in the US. Geneva, Zurich, Bern, and Basel are the cities that have signed up for the project, and will see the first club open its doors by 2017. To begin with, only those with illnesses that have been shown to benefit from cannabis use will be able to join the clubs, including both youths and adults. It is estimated that around 2,000 people will soon be able to legally light up.
Why is Switzerland taking this bold step? Currently, with cannabis illegal, people have to resort to the black market in order to obtain their bud (unless you grow your own of course!). This makes it impossible for the Swiss Government to tax, regulate, ensure quality, or conduct proper prevention programmes. By trialling cannabis clubs, it will give a potential avenue into regulation, provide a lot of information on practicalities, and ensure cannabis is used in a safe and secure manner.
WHAT IS A CANNABIS CLUB?
Cannabis clubs are a fairly recent phenomenon and extremely popular in places like Spain, where cannabis laws are not overly strict. Basically, they are a group of people that come together to form an official club, where cannabis is grown privately and distributed among all members. Members pay an upkeep fee that goes towards the costs involved but don’t actually purchase any cannabis. Each member also tends to get a say in what is grown, and how it is grown, ensuring a degree of quality. Depending on the club, joining requirements can be quite strict. Clubs will not give/sell cannabis to non-members.
The creation of cannabis clubs come with quite a few advantages. Firstly, it takes money out of the hands of the black market. They are also fairly straight forward to regulate, and ensure members know exactly what they are getting in terms of both strain and quality. Cannabis clubs, although private in nature, tend to be quite public affairs – especially in the way they are set up, often liaising with local councils and police forces as a show of good faith, as a way to reassure that everything is above board. As such, responsible cannabis clubs show that cannabis can be used safely and discreetly, often improving the standing of cannabis within local communities, and wider society as a whole.
The news that cannabis clubs are coming to Switzerland for medical users is great indeed. We are sure that all will go well, not only showing people how much of a benefit a cannabis club can be but also hopefully resulting in them being rolled out on a much larger basis. The drive to end prohibition in favour of evidence-based policy moves ever forward.
Written by: Josh
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