More than 8000 different cannabis varieties can be found in the greenhouse of Pure Holding AG's research campus in Zeiningen, Aargau. They are imported from all over the world. 25 scientists are researching the DNA and active ingredients of the plants, for which they have had an exceptional permit from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) since 2020. Now the Swiss cannabis producer will be the exclusive supplier for the first pilot project for cannabis dispensing in Basel-Stadt. The FOPH gave the go-ahead to do so on Tuesday.
"We have been preparing for the pilot projects for the last two years. We have since been able to test out which specific THC strain is best suited for the pilot project in Basel," explains Lino Cereghetti (27). The biology graduate is part of the Swiss cannabis producer's management team. He is sure that many more projects of this kind will follow in Swiss cities.
8 to 12 francs per gram
Four different types of flower and two types of hashish will be available to 400 test subjects through ten selected pharmacies in Basel-Stadt starting in late summer 2022. Some of the products with more, some with less THC. All produced in Switzerland - from organic cultivation. Prices will be based on the local black market, as stipulated in the pilot project ordinance. "That's between 8 and 12 francs per gram, depending on the product and THC content," Cereghetti says.
At Pure Holding AG, the company hopes to contribute to a functioning cannabis regulation in Switzerland by supporting the study. Cereghetti says, "With these trials, we want to provide insights into what a functioning regulation could look like."
From a scientific point of view, the project is accompanied by the University of Basel, the University Psychiatric Clinics and the Department of Health Basel-Stadt. Lavinia Flückiger, co-project leader of the study, says: "Our goal is to find out how a regulated distribution of cannabis affects people's consumption behavior and their physical and mental health." The risks involved are limited, Flückiger says - especially compared to the black market. The cannabis is clean, neither cut nor contaminated, he said. In addition, people could be much better informed and educated. Only adults who already have experience with cannabis use will be accepted for the study. The selection of test subjects will begin in August 2022.