Basel postpones controlled sale of cannabis in pharmacies

Scheduled for next Thursday, the launch of the controlled sale of cannabis in Basel pharmacies has been postponed until further notice. The products intended for this pilot project do not meet the quality criteria. They contain residues of phytosanitary products.

Phytosanitary residues on cannabis supplied by a mandated company obliges the authorities of the city of Basel to postpone the start of the controlled sale of cannabis drugs in pharmacies (symbolic photo).


Cannabis products grown by Pure Production in Zeiningen (AG) for the canton of Basel City narrowly failed a quality test, the cantonal health department said on Friday. Now they will be analyzed by an independent laboratory.

Not allowed in organic cultivation

In addition, the authorities will explore the possibility of using other cannabis products from the same firm or from other manufacturers.

Phytosanitary product residues found on cannabis supplied by a mandated company are not allowed in the organic cultivation method, says Keystone-ATS Regina Steinauer, Head of Addiction Services at the City of Basel Health Department.

“Weeks or Months”

The delay in the launch of the sale of cannabis in pharmacies is not yet known. “It can take weeks or months,” adds Regina Steinauer.

In mid-August, the canton announced that the controlled sale of cannabis in nine selected pharmacies would begin on September 15, as part of the first pilot project of this type in Switzerland. A total of 370 regular cannabis users are to participate and have also been selected. About 700 people registered to participate in the study. Canton will contact participants from mid-September.

Define a low-harm regulatory regime

The pilot project aims to identify the least harmful regime for regulating health and consumer habits. The study should allow an analysis of the impact of the regulated sale of cannabis on these two parameters compared to the illicit sale of this drug. This is permitted by the Confederation.

The cities of Zurich and Lausanne, in turn, should launch a similar pilot project by the end of the year. Other studies of this kind are planned later in Geneva, Bern, Biel, Olten (South Carolina) and St. Gallen.

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