"Traceability and transparency for Zurich’s cannabis pilot project ZüriCan"

The city of Zurich has marked a significant milestone with the official launch of its Cannabis Pilot Trials, "ZüriCan." These trials represent a further development in the legalization and regulation of cannabis in Switzerland. The Swiss Company Vigia AG has developed the Cannabis Dispensary System in partnership with the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) in order to reliably document the dispensing of the products.

The Cannavigia compliance software suite and the Cannabis Dispensary System offer complete traceability for cannabis products. It provides the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) with a precise overview of cannabis in circulation, serving as the basis for proper comprehensive scientific research. This data utilizes their reporting to the UN's International Narcotics Control Board, promoting transparency and accountability.

Press conference in Zurich about the launch of ZüriCan

The ZüriCan project
The Zurich pilot project is their most significant venture to date, with over 2,100 participants and 21 dispensary outlets – including pharmacies, social clubs, and a dedicated drug information center. Each dispensary is authorized to accommodate 50 – 150 participants. ZüriCan represents the second pilot initiative introduced in Switzerland, and it is also the second project where Vigia is implementing its CDS solution. "The project stands out due to its customized interface connecting the Vigia AG software to research databases as demanded by our stakeholders."

Product Manager at Vigia AG, Pia Meyer, added, "This project reflects our commitment to ensuring maximum compliance with regulations while promoting transparency at every stage of the value chain, from cultivation to distribution. We aim to guarantee that consumers have access to safe, high-quality products that meet rigorous standards set by the FOPH."

Furthermore, a key focus of this investigation is to comparatively analyze the health outcomes among cannabis consumers in relation to regulated cannabis sales, utilizing three distinct supply point models. Through personalized interactions, adept staff at these supply points will establish individual rapport with participants, delivering tailored advice regarding their cannabis consumption habits.

An innovative aspect of the "ZuriCan – Cannabis with Responsibility" study is the inclusion of social clubs, marking the first non-profit associations in Europe where members possess legal entitlement to purchase and collectively consume cannabis.

The empirical insights derived from this study will serve as a foundational framework for informed deliberations pertaining to the pragmatic implementation of a responsible cannabis policy in Switzerland.

Philipp Hagenbach, COO & Co-founder of Vigia AG, expressed his enthusiasm about the project. "Our software reassures that participants and stakeholders are in line with the FOPH's quality and legal requirements during the performance of the pilot trials. It allows the collection of all the data necessary for the research of the associated study of the pilots and gives the regulator the instrument to fulfill the monitoring requirements according to international standards. We are proud to be a part of the regulatory changes which are happening currently and have a close collaboration with all the different stakeholders involved," said Hagenbach.

Both cultivation companies are currently using the Cannavigia Compliance Suite during their production processes as well to ensure complete supply chain traceability. This leads to further improvement in product quality, harm reduction, and increased consumer safety.

Supporting authorities by enabling transparency
Vigia AG is the FOPH's official track & trace partner for the pilot trials. This kind of partnership between the government and a commercial business in the cannabis industry is unique to the sector. By combining both the CDS and Vigia AGs Cannavigia Cannabis Compliance Software Suite, the companies cultivating cannabis for the projects can monitor their cultivation and supply chain, which serves to ensure the quality of the final products. The authorities in charge of the projects can use the software to register the study participants, and it allows the dispensaries to keep track of sales as well as individual quantities dispensed to participants, guaranteeing that only authorized persons can purchase the products. This includes a validation feature that is used by local law enforcement across the different cantons. All these efforts ensure consumers and especially the protection of minors and result in a transparent and traceable supply chain that can also be maintained in a future legalized environment. The Cannabis Dispensary System provides the FOPH with an overview of the circulation of cannabis in Switzerland and supports the reporting obligation to the UN's International Narcotics Control Board. The data of the participants are always stored pseudonymously to ensure data protection.

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