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Switzerland’s Federal Council lifts ban on medical cannabis

The Swiss government announced this week (22 June) that rules for medical cannabis will be simplified to make it easier for patients to access a prescription.

Changes to the rules in Switzerland will remove the ban on cannabis for medicinal purposes from the Narcotics Act, which means medical prescriptions will no longer require an exceptional permit from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). The amendment will come into force on 1 August 2022.

The FOPH’s exceptional approval for use of medical cannabis drastically reduced patient access to cannabis as administrative processing was unable to keep up with the demand from potential patients.

Once effective in August, the new amendment will allow the decision to be made by the doctor together with the patient, eliminating the slow permit process currently required to acquire a prescription.

Susanne Caspar, CEO of Linnea – a Swiss company producing botanical extracts and ingredients including CBD – said the decision will have a “tremendously positive impact” on both businesses and patients

“For businesses like ours we can now expand our cannabinoids product line and use our existing 40 years of expertise to create standardised pharmaceutical-grade cannabis ingredients for patients,” Caspar told Cannabis Wealth. “This will benefit many people suffering from conditions like chronic pain who have been asking their doctors for this exact type of medicine.

“Cannabis will now be brought into the pharmaceutical system in Switzerland so it will be controlled like all the other narcotics by the health authority Swiss Medic. This will create high quality and accessible cannabis products for consumers.”

Linnea currently produces only CBD and CBG with THC levels below 0.2 per cent. With the change in law, the company will now be permitted to produce products with higher percentages of medical-grade THC.

“There is a significant amount of demand for cannabis from patients and doctors in Switzerland and we are hoping to support these patients and doctors with high-quality THC pharmaceutical ingredients in the future,” Caspar added.

Meanwhile, cannabis company CBD of Denver applauded the Swiss Government’s “empathetic stance” which is set to remove barriers for patients and widen access. CBD of Denver has full ownership of Rockflowr, a distributor of CBD and cannabis flower and a producer of a full line of CBD oil sold in Switzerland and across Europe.

“We see this as a powerful tool for managing pain and hope this will help encourage doctors to take another look at cannabis for their patients,” said CBD of Denver CEO Paul Gurney. “We also believe this will improve the quality of the product for medical cannabis users, helping to make the industry cleaner and more transparent, which is something we fully support,”

“Medical cannabis is gaining broader acceptance across Europe, as evidenced by this revision to the regulation and recent moves by the Spanish government to legalise medical cannabis. We see the trend continuing to rapidly strengthen moving forward,” Gurney added.

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