Authorisation of pilot trials under Art. 8a NarcA

The FOPH can grant authorisations for scientific pilot trials involving the controlled dispensing of non-medicinal cannabis that are limited in time, place and scope, provided new insights into cannabis use can be gained.

The FOPH authorises pilot trials under the Narcotics Act (NarcA) provided the submitted application is complete and the requirements for conducting the trial, as stipulated in Art. 8a NarcA and the Ordinance on Pilot Trials Conducted Under the Narcotics Act (NarcPT), (in German, French and Italian) are met.

Pilot trials are scientific studies designed to deliver insights on the impact of measures, usefulness of instruments and effectiveness of approaches regarding the use of non-medicinal cannabis.

You can find more information on pilot trials with cannabis on this page:

Due to the complexity of the authorisation procedure, a three-month processing period is generally to be expected. The procedure includes a comprehensive examination of the legal requirements, coordination of the decisions with the ethics committees and, last but not least, consultation with the cantons and communes concerned. Experience shows that several rounds of clarification with the applicants are necessary.

Further information

Pilot trials with cannabis

On 15 May 2021 an amendment to NarcA has come into force allowing pilot trials involving the dispensing of cannabis for non-medicinal (“recreational”) purposes. These studies are intended to create the basis for the future legal regulation of cannabis.

Exceptional licences related to pilot trials

After consulting with the relevant cantons and communes, the FOPH can authorise scientific pilot trials with narcotics containing an effective concentration of cannabinoids.

Last modification 20.02.2024

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Federal Office of Public Health FOPH
Prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases Division
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