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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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CRIME

Swiss woman indicted over ‘jihadist knife attack’ in department store

Swiss prosecutors said Wednesday they had indicted a woman for attempted murder on behalf of the Islamic State (IS) group over a brutal knife attack in November 2020.

Swiss woman indicted over 'jihadist knife attack' in department store

The 29-year-old unnamed woman allegedly attacked two women in a department store in the southern city of Lugano.

She has been charged with attempted murder and violating laws against association with Al-Qaeda, IS and related groups, according to the indictment.

She was also charged with unlawful prostitution.

EXPLAINED: Does Switzerland face a threat from terrorism?

The attorney general’s office said the indictment related to a “jihadist knife attack” and the alleged assailant, a Swiss citizen, “intended to kill her victims and to commit a terrorist act on behalf of IS.”

“The suspect acted wilfully and with particular ruthlessness. She brutally attacked her randomly-selected victims with a knife, with the aim of killing them and thereby spreading terror throughout the population on behalf of the ‘Islamic State’,” it said.

One of the two victims sustained serious neck injuries while the second victim, with help from others at the scene, managed to overpower her attacker and hold her until police arrived.

The attacker was arrested and detained. Police quickly discovered she had been linked to a 2017 jihadism investigation.

The woman had formed a relationship on social media with a jihadist fighter in Syria and attempted to travel to the war-torn country to meet him, police alleged at the time.

She was stopped by Turkish authorities at the Syrian border and sent back to Switzerland, they said, adding that the woman had suffered from mental health problems and been admitted to a psychiatric clinic.

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