Pilot trials with cannabis

On 15 May 2021 an amendment to the Federal Narcotics Act has come into force allowing pilot trials involving the dispensing of Cannabis for non-medicinal purposes. These trials are intended to create the basis for the future legal regulation.

On 25 September 2020, Parliament passed an amendment to the Federal Act on Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances (NarcA). With its new Article 8a NarcA, the revised Act provides a legal basis for conducting scientific pilot trials with cannabis that are limited in terms of both time and place.

The amended act has come into force on 15 May 2021 and will remain in effect for ten years. An ordinance on pilot trials in accordance with the Narcotics Act sets forth the requirements to be met for conducting the pilot trials and the details concerning the applications procedure (see Documents).

Procedure for cannabis pilot trials. Coordinated submission of applications, examination and authorization of applications, Start Pilot trials, recruitment of participants, evaluation of the data and communication. The pilot trials are the scientific basis for the future legal regulation of cannabis use.


Legal basis

Questionnaire for pilot trials with Cannabis

Scientific and technical basis

A research agenda for the regulation of non-medical cannabis use in Switzerland (PDF, 2 MB, 18.08.2021)in English, executive summary in German, French, Italian
Roman Zwicky et al.
Universität Zürich, Institut für Politikwissenschaft, Forschungsbereich Policy-Analyse & Evaluation, 2021

Accompanying research on cannabis regulation

You can find further documents in German, French or Italian

For further documents on the legislative process see respective websites in German, French, and Italian.

Further information

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.

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.

Research reports on Cannabis

Here a list of research reports on the topic "Cannabis" that have been funded by the Federal Office of Public Health.

Drug policy in Switzerland

Swiss drug policy aims at minimizing drug use and its negative consequences. It is based on the four pillars of prevention, therapy, harm reduction and repression.

Last modification 23.04.2024

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