Switzerland embarks on largest adult-use cannabis pilot to date.

Liz Filmer
22 Mar 2024

Officials in Switzerland revealed a seventh pilot study into the sale of legal cannabis for adult use in the neighbourhood of Canton Zürich on Monday 18 March. 

In the biggest trial to date, up to 7,500 people will take part in the study which will operate for five years and see participants allowed to access regulated cannabis products. 

It follows six previous pilot programmes which are currently underway or ready to begin in the regions of Basel, Zürich, Bern, Lucerne, Biel and Basel-Landschaft.

Data on consumption conduct and the physical and mental health of participants is being gathered as a component of the research being completed by partnering universities to scrutinise the effects of cannabis on public health. 

For the first time, parties in two of three groups will have lawful access to regulated cannabis products from a restricted number of allocation points, while a third will operate as a comparison group which will persist in sourcing cannabis illegally. 

In the towns of Winterthur, Schlieren and Horgen, all located in Canton Zürich, study participants will be allowed to buy cannabis from specialist dispensaries and pharmacies starting May 2024. Further points of sale in Canton Zurich are planned for the towns of Adliswil, Wädenswil and Uster.

Cannabis consumers from 34 municipalities will also be permitted to participate. Enrollment for the study has just begun with a total of 3,000 people already reported to be on the waiting list. 

Currently the enrolled participants in the new trial feature considerably more men than women, they also have an average age of 35, with those aged 28 to 32 years being represented most highly 

This investigation will concentrate on the social and economic consequences of cannabis use in the study, being headed up by KOF Swiss Economic Institute at ETH Zürich and The University of Zürich.

What about the first findings from the ZuriCan pilot?

This news comes off the back of the recent publication of the first data gathered via the ‘Züri Can’ pilot, following its launch in March 2023.

 Originally, five different cannabis products with diverse THC/CBD contents and various genotypes were available. However, in December 2023, this was extended to nine products, encompassing five flower varieties and four types of hash.

The data collected from the first trial, most of the study participants ingested cannabis at least four times a week and approximately 25% showed signs of a cannabis use disorder before they started accessing controlled cannabis products through the trial.

“Regulated distribution of cannabis creates a framework promoting lower-risk cannabis consumption,” state the researchers

All The sales staff at the reference points have undergone specialist training to supply advice and prevention so that personal, unique, targeted advice is achievable. 

Since the study participants will consistently buy their study cannabis from the same origin, a closer relationship of trust can evolve, one in which any problematic consequences can be pinpointed and discussed.

More on this topic from Soft Secrets

Switzerland Launches Pilot Program for Cannabis Sales

Switzerland changes law to decriminalise marijuana possession

Where in the World can I Smoke Weed

Cannabis is the most used drug in Europe


Liz Filmer