According to an article in Tribune de Genève, some cigarette vendors are desperately searching for supplies of the drug to meet demand.
Recently kiosques in Geneva started selling low strength cannabis like they sell cigarettes. Some kiosque owners are over the moon, while others desperately search for a supplier. One vendor told Tribune de Genève: “I don’t have any. For three days people have been asking for it…” Another the newspaper spoke to had sold 50 pots (of pot) over the last ten days, and another had sold 150. At a price of CHF 62 per 5 gram pot, 150 pots represents sales of CHF 9,000.
In 2011, Swiss law changed to allow the sale of cannabis containing less than 1% Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). There is little guidance available on how the law works. One entrepreneur contacted the local authorities and they didn’t seem to know what he was talking about. The Federal Health Office however, warned him that he could not mention the therapeutic effects of the product in his marketing.
The sale of “light” cannabis really took off in Bern and Zurich about two months ago after increasingly more people started buying it after last summer.
Basel has seen similar demand for the product, which is supposed to retain the calming effects of cannabis without the psychotropic effects that come with consuming high amounts of THC. Marcus Mohler, who runs a shop selling the stuff in Basel, told 24 Heures, that he has never seen this many people in his shop. He has been selling e-cigarettes, ashtrays, lighters and pipes for 20 years. Students, bankers, workers, people from 18 to 80, “It has been two months since I started selling it, with no letting up, from morning till night.”
In Lausanne, the business Dr. Green was launched. In Geneva a company sells a “light” cannabis liquid for e-cigarettes.
For the moment, unlike cigarettes, there is no tax other than 8% VAT on the drug.
The challenge for police is to identify which cannabis has high THC and which doesn’t. Olivier Guéniat, a policeman in Neuchâtel, interviewed by Nouvo, explained how it all looks and smells the same. The only way to know is to test it in a laboratory, a costly and time consuming process. The same Nouvo video (in French) shows a team of cannabis entrepreneurs who are supplying low-THC weed across Switzerland.
Speaking to Tribune de Genève, the police said: “We have no problem with this practice but we are keeping a close eye on its development. And it goes without saying that any activity that contravenes laws on controlled substances will be sanctioned.”