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This content was published on July 19, 2012 11:10 PM Jul 19, 2012 – 11:10
The state of Switzerland has approved new regulations for “cannabis cafes”, and it is now a legal thing to buy weed from them (Keystone)
In Switzerland, where cannabis cafes are known to sell large quantities of cannabis, the Federal Health Office has approved the establishment of the cannabis cafés and the sale of the drug.
Switzerland’s federal health ministry announced on Monday this would be a legal thing to buy cannabis from cannabis cafes, although it has no restrictions on where the cafes can have the drug, and people will be able to openly smoke the drug for a lifetime without fear of prosecution.
The Health Office said the Cafés Act “guarantees freedom of access to cannabis cafés and the use of a number of substances.” The new law “makes it possible to open a cannabis cafe, whether or not there is a license,” it added.
The Health Office’s announcement said the decision to allow cannabis cafes to sell cannabis in shops was taken “to protect public health as well as to provide legal certainty to cannabis tourists,” with no plans to regulate where the cannabis is sold.
Under the Cannabis Cafes Act, cafes that receive at least 25 000 euros a year in tax can continue to operate “provided that they ensure no more than the amount of cannabis would otherwise be available for sale, and that they make available for sale only those items that are suitable for consumption” under the Health Office’s interpretation.
Switzerland is the only country in Europe where cannabis cafes are legal.
The Health Office also said “the production and sale of cannabis, for medical purposes, must be governed by rules set by the Health Office.”
Its decision means Switzerland is now legal to buy marijuana, and a person with a legal prescription for the drug could visit one of the new cannabis cafes to buy the drug from them.
A spokesman for the Swiss Cannabis Cafe, Andreas Fischl, told swissinfo.ch that the decision “is a small step, but it is a step in this direction. It is only a temporary measure.”
Fischl said he wanted to expand the use of the cafe, and was in talks with “anybody,” but said he had not been able to speak with any legal representatives
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