Swiss Cannabis

History, Laws & Business Opportunities

Switzerland recently joined a number of its European neighbors by fully legalizing medicinal cannabis. By amending the Swiss Narcotics Act, Switzerland is on a path to becoming a new European cannabis hotspot. 

If you’re interested in entering the Swiss cannabis market, now’s the time to get started. Here’s what to know about Switzerland’s cannabis history, laws, and business opportunities.

The History of Swiss Cannabis Laws

According to some pollen studies, hemp was used throughout Europe, including Switzerland, all the way through the industrial revolution. That is, until 1924, when Swiss cannabis was made illegal.

For the next 80 years, Switzerland’s drug laws emanated between harm-reduction policies and prohibition. Then, toward the end of the 20th century, the Swiss government entered a decree allowing the cultivation of cannabis, so long as the cannabis was not intended for recreational use. 

The interpretation of Swiss law that allowed for the cultivation and sale of cannabis was quickly brought in line with the EU prohibitions on selling cannabis over 0.2% THC.

In 2012, an initiative before the Swiss parliament led to the decriminalization of cannabis use and possession of less than 10 grams of cannabis. 

Finally, in March of 2021, the Swiss parliament passed an amendment to the Swiss Narcotics Act that provided for broader access to medicinal cannabis. Also, the Swiss Federal Council adopted an ordinance that detailed the specifics of a pilot project to allow for the controlled distribution of cannabis for non-medicinal purposes.

During this period, the only way to obtain medicinal cannabis was through an exceptional license from the Federal Office of Public Health.

Most recently, as of Aug. 1, 2022, Swiss patients may now obtain medicinal cannabis by prescription through the country’s adult-use cannabis pilot program.

The new laws also allow for the import and export of medical cannabis for commercial purposes.

Questions on cannabis
in Sweden?

Higher Yields Consulting Swiss Cannabis History, Laws & Business Opportunities

What to Know About Starting
a Swiss Cannabis Company

Until now, the only approved medicinal cannabis preparation in Switzerland was Sativex. The recent changes in Swiss cannabis laws have opened up the possibilities for other cannabis products to be available throughout Switzerland.

Further, Swiss attitudes toward cannabis have led some cannabis experts to believe that Switzerland will “play an important role in the emerging cannabis industry worldwide.”

If you’re interested in entering the Swiss cannabis market, a cannabis consultant like our experts at Higher Yields Consulting can help you navigate Switzerland’s ever-changing laws. To start, keep reading to learn more about the types of licenses you may need.

Cultivation License

One of the greatest changes to the recent laws is the establishment of a legal basis to allow the import and export of cannabis for commercial purposes. This was never previously allowed under Swiss cannabis law. 

The new laws allow for a two-stage authorization procedure for cultivating medicinal cannabis. As the name suggests, the procedure consists of two stages: first obtaining an establishment license, and then applying for the individual cultivation license — for each cultivation of medicinal cannabis. 

You will be required to prove your growing location is sufficiently protected against theft and that you’re able to prevent the use of cultivated plants for an improper purpose.

To be approved, you must prove to the Swissmedic that you have a system for traceability and quality assurance. You must also provide, in writing, the source of your products, the type and quantity of cultivation you intend to perform, and who the purchasing party will be of your final product. 

Each individual cultivation license is only valid for a 12-month period.

Import/Export License

Switzerland has long focused on exports of various types, and now, by allowing high-quality cannabis cultivation, Switzerland seeks to become known as an exporter of “very high-quality flower.” 

However, this process will not happen overnight, and interested cultivators will still need to become fully licensed under the new laws. 

If you’re interested in starting a Swiss cannabis import/export company, you can start by following the link to the National Drug Control System database through Swissmedic. You can also contact the Swissmedic via email.

Takeaways From the Swiss Cannabis Market

The Swiss cannabis market is undergoing substantial change for the better! With the recent implementation of a full legalized medicinal cannabis program, a strong hemp industry, and adult-use cannabis trials in the works, Switzerland is sure to be the epicenter for legal cannabis in Europe. 

The market numbers indicate that European cannabis consumption has continued to climb. As more European countries continue to legalize, Switzerland is positioning itself to become an international supplier of cannabis through its import and export programs. 

However, cannabis in Switzerland is still closely regulated, and anyone interested in entering the Swiss market should work with a cannabis expert to navigate the country’s laws and regulations. Contact Higher Yields Consulting today to start realizing your Swiss cannabis dreams!

Last updated: March 23, 2023

Contact Us

Submit your request and a member of our team
will get back to you Soon!