High Thailand community, we’ve been following an intriguing development in Switzerland’s drug policy. Pharmacies and social clubs in most of the urban areas are now readily providing cannabis for recreational purposes under orchestrated scientific pilot programs. Some even speculate about expanding these trials to include cocaine.

Notably, these steps are being received positively by recreational cannabis users and those who use marijuana for self-medication. E.S, a woman in her 40s who’s been using cannabis since her teenage years to alleviate menstrual pain and unwind after her workday, especially resonates with the change. Asserting the right to choose the cannabis she consumes, E.S likens her curiosity for different strains to that of a wine connoisseur seeking unique vineyard varieties, rather than relying on the black market offerings.

E.S is one of 1,091 people in Switzerland who have chosen to participate in the scientific pilot SCRIPT program. The program’s objective is to study the effects of legalized, non-profit cannabis sale coupled with advisory services on overall cannabis use patterns. Offered in several prime locations, including Bern, Lucerne, and Biel/Bienne, the program signifies a major step forward after a decade-long wait due to political and legal disputes.

Interestingly, the SCRIPT project acquired the much-needed go-ahead in 2021 when the Federal Act on Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances underwent an amendment allowing the use of such substances in scientific studies. Orchestrated by Professor Reto Auer, a doctor and researcher from the University of Bern, SCRIPT aims for harm reduction.

Cannabis will be readily available in pharmacies, ranging from dried flowers and resin to liquids for e-cigarettes and oil, all produced in Switzerland following organic farming regulations. The focus will be on the quality of cannabis to counter the risk associated with poor-quality or excessively potent substances often found in the black market. Moreover, the program encompasses a strong counseling component, aiding users in finding alternative methods to consume cannabis.

SCRIPT, backed by the Swiss National Science Foundation, plans to collect extensive data through lab tests and participant-filled questionnaires to understand the social aspects of consumption. The ultimate goal is to determine the ethical and not just the scientific role drugs play in society.

In recent times, similar projects have been initiated in multiple Swiss cities. Committed to “harm reduction,” these projects adopt non-profit models which prioritize public health above commerce. Taking cues from various countries, including California and Colorado, Swiss cities also aim to study the feasibility and impact of non-profit, controlled cannabis sale.

In global context, many countries have adopted progressive cannabis policies. Uruguay led the charge by legalizing it for recreational use, followed by Canada and several US states. In 2022, even Thailand, known for its stringent drug laws, decriminalized cannabis. The growing list of countries making such progressive strides makes one hopeful for a future where regulated cannabis is a universal norm.

As we observe these developments, remember to always source your cannabis responsibly. The steps forward regardless of the geographic location must always be rooted in research, harm reduction, and promoting a safer environment for users.

As a disclaimer, the opinions expressed in this article don’t reflect those of High Thailand.

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