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POLICE

Switzerland to legalise recreational and medical cannabis usage

Switzerland will draw up a draft law for the legalisation of cannabis usage, after a parliamentary commission ruled the drug should no longer be banned.

A joint and some sticky icky bud on top of a magazine encouraging you to grow your own.
Switzerland will legalise cannabis production and consumption, although the specifics of the law remain to be seen. Photo by Shelby Ireland on Unsplash

The production, cultivation, trade and consumption of cannabis will no longer be banned in Switzerland after a commission investigating the drug said the laws should be changed, Swiss news outlet Blick reported on Tuesday

The Social Security and Health Commission of the Council of States (SGK-S) said cannabis should be regulated in Switzerland in order to control the “cannabis market for better youth and consumer protection”. 

EXPLAINED: Which banks are best for foreigners in Switzerland?

The aim of the SGK-S is to eliminate the black market for the drug in Switzerland. A draft law will now be drawn up in Swiss parliament. 

Importantly, it appears that not only will medical use be allowed, but recreational use will also be approved. 

Other rules, for instance how individuals can cultivate and produce cannabis for personal use, as well as taxation issues, will be laid out as part of the legal effort. 

The decision was made on Tuesday afternoon, with 9 of the body’s 11 representatives voting in favour. 

The legalisation has support from across Switzerland’s political spectrum, with 40 members of the National Council signing the initiative. 

While Switzerland’s laws for cannabis production and usage are relatively strict, a movement towards legalisation has been brewing for some time. 

According to one such plan, the cannabis sold in Switzerland would be exclusively produced by Swiss farmers

READ MORE: Ten things Zurich residents take for granted

What are the current rules in Switzerland for cannabis use?

As at mid-October 2021, THC of at least 1 percent is generally prohibited in Switzerland and use of products with this (or higher) content may be punishable by a 100-franc fine.

Of course, if someone is determined to smoke it, 100 francs may not be much a deterrent — but that’s a subject for another article.

“By contrast, possession of up to 10g of cannabis for personal use is not considered a criminal offence”, the law states, as long as it is not used by or sold to minors.

Cannabis: What are the rules in Switzerland?

And, as with nearly everything else in decentralised Switzerland, “there are still considerable differences between cantons regarding implementation of the fixed penalty procedure”.

However, “cannabis flowers intended for smoking with a high proportion of cannabidiol (CBD) and less than 1 percent THC can be sold and purchased legally”, according to the legislation. 

That’s because, unlike the THC, cannabidiol “does not have a psychoactive effect”.

In other words, low-content THC and CBD will not give the “high” that recreational users seek.

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POLICE

Two mountaineers killed and 9 injured in ice fall in Swiss mountains

A Frenchwoman and a Spaniard were killed and nine other mountaineers were injured on Friday in an ice fall in southwest Switzerland, police said following a rescue attempt involving several helicopters.

Two mountaineers killed and 9 injured in ice fall in Swiss mountains

Police received calls at 6.20 am reporting that mountaineers had been caught up in falling seracs — columns of glacial ice formed by crevasses — on the Grand Combin, a glacial massif near the Italian border in the Wallis region.

Seven helicopters with mountain rescue experts flew to the scene, finding 17 mountaineers split among several groups.

“Two people died at the scene of the accident,” Wallis police said in a statement. They were a 40-year-old Frenchwoman and a 65-year-old man from Spain.

Nine mountaineers were airlifted to hospitals in nearby Sion and in Lausanne. Two of them are seriously injured, police said.

Other mountaineers were evacuated by helicopter.

The regional public prosecutor has opened an investigation “to determine the circumstances of this event”, the police said.

The serac fall happened at an altitude of 3,400 metres in the Plateau de Dejeuner section along the Voie du Gardien ascent route.

The Grand Combin massif has three summits above 4,000 metres, the highest of which is the Combin de Grafeneire at 4,314 metres.

The police issued a note of caution about setting off on such high-altitude expeditions.

“When the zero-degree-Celsius isotherm is around 4,000 metres above sea level, it is better to be extra careful or not attempt the route if in doubt,” Wallis police said.

“The golden rule is to find out beforehand from the mountain guides about the chosen route and its current feasibility.”

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